Saturday, December 31, 2011

What I'm Listening To...

"Auld Lang Syne" by Straight No Chaser on their Holiday Spirits album.

When All Is Said and Done

If a cat could write, it would have such stories to tell!   My grandmother's siamese cat disappeared for years only to return home one day to live out the rest of her life in the comfort of their farmhouse.   Where she had been all that time, nobody knew.   She, who had lived her life constantly pregnant, had stretched out her tent pegs beyond what we could imagine.    Her descendants are likely still prowling the countryside.
A child of God's life story may have to wait until Eternity and beyond to be written.   Seeds sown today may take generations to harvest.   My goal is to be a faithful servant to my God giving all glory to Him.    Rewards in this life will be meaningless compared to what is given in Heaven.  I don't want to bring an empty quiver to Heaven. I lived many years as a barren woman before being blessed with a son.   For that reason Isaiah 54 has been a passage of Scripture, though written for Zion, dear to me.

Isaiah 54

The Future Glory of Zion
 1 “Sing, barren woman, 
   you who never bore a child; 
burst into song, shout for joy, 
   you who were never in labor; 
because more are the children of the desolate woman 
   than of her who has a husband,” 
            says the LORD. 
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, 
   stretch your tent curtains wide, 
   do not hold back; 
lengthen your cords, 
   strengthen your stakes. 
3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; 
   your descendants will dispossess nations 
   and settle in their desolate cities.
 4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. 
   Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. 
You will forget the shame of your youth 
   and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 
5 For your Maker is your husband— 
   the LORD Almighty is his name— 
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; 
   he is called the God of all the earth. 
6 The LORD will call you back 
   as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— 
a wife who married young, 
   only to be rejected,” says your God. 
7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, 
   but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 
8 In a surge of anger 
   I hid my face from you for a moment, 
but with everlasting kindness 
   I will have compassion on you,” 
   says the LORD your Redeemer.

 9 “To me this is like the days of Noah, 
   when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. 
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, 
   never to rebuke you again. 
10 Though the mountains be shaken 
   and the hills be removed, 
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken 
   nor my covenant of peace be removed,” 
   says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

 11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, 
   I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a] 
   your foundations with lapis lazuli. 
12 I will make your battlements of rubies, 
   your gates of sparkling jewels, 
   and all your walls of precious stones. 
13 All your children will be taught by the LORD, 
   and great will be their peace. 
14 In righteousness you will be established: 
Tyranny will be far from you; 
   you will have nothing to fear. 
Terror will be far removed; 
   it will not come near you. 
15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; 
   whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

 16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith 
   who fans the coals into flame 
   and forges a weapon fit for its work. 
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; 
 17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, 
   and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. 
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, 
   and this is their vindication from me,” 
            declares the LORD.

When It's All Been Said and Done - Robin Mark

Friday, December 30, 2011

What I'm Listening To...

"I Love to Tell The Story" sung by Alan Jackson on his "Precious Memories" album.

Text: Katherine Hankey, 1834-1911
Music: William G. Fischer, 1835-1912
Tune: HANKEY, Meter: 76.76 D with Refrain

1. I love to tell the story 
 of unseen things above, 
 of Jesus and his glory, 
 of Jesus and his love.  
 I love to tell the story, 
 because I know 'tis true; 
 it satisfies my longings 
 as nothing else can do.  
 I love to tell the story, 
 'twill be my theme in glory, 
 to tell the old, old story 
 of Jesus and his love.

2. I love to tell the story; 
 more wonderful it seems 
 than all the golden fancies 
 of all our golden dreams.  
 I love to tell the story, 
 it did so much for me; 
 and that is just the reason 
 I tell it now to thee.  

3. I love to tell the story; 
 'tis pleasant to repeat 
 what seems, each time I tell it, 
 more wonderfully sweet.  
 I love to tell the story, 
 for some have never heard 
 the message of salvation 
 from God's own holy Word.  

4. I love to tell the story, 
 for those who know it best 
 seem hungering and thirsting 
 to hear it like the rest.  
 And when, in scenes of glory, 
 I sing the new, new song, 
 'twill be the old, old story 
 that I have loved so long.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Abundance of Caution

An abundance of caution if a much floated term  these days.   We fear risks and desire a life with sufficient collateral.   We make plans in an often vain attempt to avoid unpleasantness.  We scramble fighter jets out of an abundance of caution, we allow the government to parent us out of an abundance of caution.   We take each other to court and make ourselves afraid to trust our neighbors, let alone love them as Jesus commanded.

An abundance of caution keeps us swimming in the shallow end of the pool, when grace can be found in the deep end.  Have courage.  Dive in.  Jesus saves and keeps us.    Really, He does!   I write to remind myself, because I'm one of the biggest scaredy-cats I know.  

What I'm Listening To...

"All the Poor and Powerless" by All Sons & Daughters on their Brokenness Aside album.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Waiting For the Sun

Not only have I been living under the weeping willow, the skies above have been weeping as well.    I find myself growing weary of the cold rain and the dampness that seems to reach to my bones.  A good rain dweller will claim to embrace the rain but inwardly long for a nap in a sunbeam.   It's the hope of seeing the sun again that keeps my sunglasses clipped to my car's visor and an umbrella buried in the trunk.   Yes, the sun will shine again.   God keeps His promises.

What I'm Listening To...

"The Light of a Clear Blue Morning" sung by the Wailin' Jennys on The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom (Music from the Original Motion Picture Sountrack).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Through the Knothole

I once watched  a TV comedian joking about who milked the first cow.  It does make you wonder. It was probably the bravest person in the known world, the first one who squeezed a cow's udder and then drank what came out!

When I was a small girl I thought Grandpa was the bravest man in the world.   His grandchildren weren't allowed in the barn when he was putting the cows into their stanchions, but we could peek through the cracks between the wood planks or through a good knothole.   Watching him move about those giant beasts as he guided them into their proper places, left me in awe of such a courageous man.  

Perspective should put us in awe of God.   It's good to know that there is someone stronger, braver, and better than you, especially if that someone loves you.   God became Man because of love.   He is a fierce, lover of my soul, a Savior who put Himself in harm's way for me.    Right now I may only be able to see God through a knothole but one day I will see Him face to face.   That should put me on my knees, if not my face, in absolute gratitude.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  i Corinthians 13:12

What I'm Listening To...

"Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" from Cynthia Clawson's Hymnsinger album.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Song For Frozen Hearts

Lord Dissolve My Frozen Heart- Red Mountain Church

Lord, dissolve my frozen heart/ By the beams of Love Divine;/ This alone can warmth impart/ To dissolve a heart like mine.
O that love, how vast it is!/ Vast, it seems, though known in part;/ Strange indeed, if love like this/ Should not melt the frozen heart.
Chorus: The love of Christ passes knowledge./ The Love of Christ eases fear./ The love of Christ hits a man’s heart;/ It pierces him like a spear.
Savior, let thy love be felt,/ Let it’s power be felt by me,/ Then my frozen heart shall melt,/ Melt in love, o Lord to thee.


What I'm Listening To...

Your Hands" by JJ Heller on her Painted Red album.

Your Hands
JJ Heller

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world 
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jesus Cares

A late evening phone call reminded me of how hard Christmas can be for those who feel they are living on the fringe.   Most of us have experienced those Christmas's, those dark times of loneliness and longing, the unmet desire of love and companionship.  If you are reading this and feeling those feelings, I'm sorry.   I'm truly, deeply sorry.  You are precious and loved.   Jesus loved you all the way to the cross.  You are not forsaken.  You have not been abandoned.  I care.  Jesus cares so much more.  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven . . .

I've got the old gospel song lyrics stuck in my head, "Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die."  It was inspired by good King Hezekiah of Old Testament, who after being told by the prophet Isaiah to put his house in order begged God for his life.  It might seem like a strange song for a Christmas Eve, maybe not so strange when I'm still sick with a cold;  but it reminds me that Jesus was born to die.  It was His own choice to leave Heaven to save men from their sins.  Nobody took His life, He laid it down of His own accord.  He chose the thing we fear so much, physical death, so that we might have life eternal.   What love!   He is our greatest Christmas gift!  

To all the King Hezekiah's in this world from one of your own,
Merry Christmas!

Isaiah 38:1-7 (NIV)

 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
 2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, 3 “Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
 4 Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.
 7 “‘This is the LORD’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: 8 I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.

John 10: 14-18 (NIV)
New International Version (NIV)

   14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

What I'm Listening To...

"Magnificat' from Todd Agnew's  Do You See What I See? album.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Practice Kindness and Grant Mercy

I know I should be writing something profound this evening with Christmas coming so quickly, but I'm on my second go round with this cold bug that's plagued me all month.   For now I'll have to let my husband's dog be the guest blogger.   She's a lovely, athletic dog but not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, so I'll give her a little help.  I found this profound kindness pledge on the photobucket site.

This is actually a pretty good pledge to apply to humans too.   My dear mother who can't remember the perils of the uninsured and the under insured has suggested I see my doctor.   Perhaps the dog can email this pledge to the people in charge of such things.  We were set adrift in our health care system when our insurance premiums topped $1200 a month.   So it goes for all who are mourning under the Weeping Willow trees as we occupy Babylon.

What I'm Listening To...

"Grace's Waltz" by Fernando Ortega on his This Bright Hour album.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Baby Changes Everything

As the Faith Hill song says, "A baby changes everything."  My husband loves that song.  A long awaited baby after years of infertility most definitely changed things for us.  I am so thankful for the miracle that is our son, a child that the doctor told me to expect to miscarry.   I nearly did.  What I would have missed if I had indeed lost him while he was yet in the womb!   My mother told me that she had to go to God when she became pregnant with me her sixth child so soon after her fifth.   She soon accepted that I was part of God's plan for her life.  Even though I had to endure an older brother who tried to convince me I was adopted, his fifth sister, I was loved and the family made room.  Eventually my brother did get the brother he wanted too; and though he did dethrone me as the baby of the family, it was good for me to lose the title.
A baby, Jesus, God made flesh, came to redeem us from our sins.  Immanuel, God with us, gets to keep the title.   Make room in your heart for Jesus.

For my husband I'll share the song.

What I'm Listening To...

"My One Thing" and "Hold Me Jesus" sung by the late Rich Mullins on his Songs album.

Hold Me Jesus
Well, sometimes my life
Just don't make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small

So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It's so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart

Surrender don't come natural to me
I'd rather fight You for something
I don't really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I've beat my head against so many walls
Now I'm falling down, I'm falling on my knees

And this Salvation Army band
Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin

You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Life a Song

     This morning I got another complaint from well-meaning viewer of one of my Youtube uploads about my "preaching" through the use of Christian images in a slide show of what the viewer considered a non-religious song.  Granted it was by a folk group and not a bona fide Christian singing group but the lyrics spoke to me of my Jesus, the lover of my soul, my protector in the storms of life.  It is hard for a person, who does not have a relationship with the Savior, to only see a person practicing a religion.  Jesus gave His life for mine.   My heart beats because of Him.  My life is His song.   How can I keep from singing?

What I'm Listening To...

"El Nino" by Willie Nelson on his The Christmas Album.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Merry Little Christmas

I like the sounds of my hometown, the chiming of the courthouse clock, the cry of the seagulls in the harbor, the splash of the tide against the sand and rocks, and the ferry's horn announcing it arrivals and departures.  It seems right to breathe air that smells of salt and moss.  Growth mingles with decay and carpets the ground.  I enjoy the mountains at our back, often obscured by cloud and fogs, their reappearance on a sunny day giving me a reason to gasp in wonder and thank God for their beauty.  When I drive to work I'm careful to count the deer as they cross the road knowing that at least three will pass before it's safe to drive on.  Even so I drive with caution.  It's our version of a traffic jam.  There's one road into town and one road out, a reminder of my physical mortality and the reality of my eternal destiny with Jesus, my Lord and Savior.  I may be living in a rented house among the toad stools under the willow tree; but this is where my great-grandfather homesteaded, making it my father's world, as well as my Father's world.

When I started this day's entry I wanted to gripe about our President spending four million dollars on his Hawaiian Christmas vacation, while his people eat spam.  Yes, I really, really want to gripe, but I guess for him too there's no place like home.

Mele Kalikimaka, Mr. President.  Merry Christmas.

What I'm Listening To...

"I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day" sung by Casting Crowns on their Peace On Earth Album.

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Father's Jewels

I've been battling my cat today for the right to sit at my computer chair.   I think it has something to do heat vent that blows straight from the wall onto the chair.   It may also have to do with her belief that she owns us.   Maybe she does.   I have to agree with her that warm heat blowing on old bones does feel good.  
If our electric bill is any indication, this little house under the willow tree lavishly heats the outdoors, making me miss our modern house with the heat pump.   I grew up in an old Victorian house, a house big enough to house us all but too big to heat with one oil stove.  The winter often found us kids abandoning our rooms upstairs in order to sleep on the floor near the stove.  There were nights, however, when I wanted to enjoy a room and a bed to myself, and I'd sleep upstairs burrowed under blankets borrowed from the other beds. Family togetherness and and individual fortitude can be fostered in small hardships.  Gem stones have to be cut and polished before becoming jewels.

Dad,  I remember when you got so tired of fixing that upstairs bathroom door that suffered mistreatment  too often by your mixed blessings that you left the door as it was, off the hinges.  When we wanted privacy we had to prop the door over the opening.   A whole new set of bathroom etiquette was observed until you deemed us fit enough for the privilege of a door that closed.  Weariness was often the inspiration for your innovative parenting.   I have been trying to follow your example as I parent your grandson.   Thanks, Dad!

What I'm Listening To...

"Mele Kalikimaka" sung by Chris Isaak on his Christmas album.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Not Quite Rockwell Christmas

The men in my house have done what I thought impossible.  They've raised our artificial Christmas tree in this low-ceilinged house.   Now we're going through the drama of the lights.  It must be a guy thing this lighting of the tree.   They never did understand why I wanted a pre-lit Christmas tree.  The top of the tree is a bit smushed, as well as the branches in the back, and I'm not sure how the star will fit, but it's up.  Amazing!  The star is on and lit!  It looks like it could puncture a hole in the ceiling but it's there and shining!
God is good.
From under the weeping willow,
O Tannenbaum - Naturally 7

What I'm Listening To...

"The Glorious Impossible" sung by FFH on their One Silent Night album.   As a congregation we sang it in church this morning and it was lovely.

See the virgin is delivered
In a cold and crowded stall
Mirror of the Father’s glory
Lies beside her in the straw
He is mercy’s incarnation
Marvel at this miracle
For the virgin gently holds the
Glorious impossible
Love has come to walk on water
Turn the water into wine
Touch the leper, bless the children
Love both human and divine
Praise the wisdom of the Father
Who has spoken through His Son
Speaking still, He calls us to the
Glorious impossible
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Glorious impossible
Glorious impossible
He was bruised for our transgressions
And He bears eternal scars
He was raised for our salvation
And His righteousness is ours
Praise, oh, praise Him, praise the glory
Of this lavish grace so full
Lift your souls now and receive the
Glorious impossible
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Glorious impossible
Glorious impossible
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Glorious impossible
Glorious impossible
Praise, oh, praise Him, praise the glory
Of this lavish grace so full
Lift your souls now and receive the
Glorious impossible

Saturday, December 17, 2011

He'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain

It all started tonight with my husband asking me what was the meaning of the six white horses in the song Gillian Welch was singing on the Prairie Home Companion show.   I went to my usual source for knowledge, and I wish I could write it was the Bible, but it was Google.   Sigh.  One search led to another and I learned that the old children's song, "She'll Be Comin 'Round the Mountain," was originally an old African Spiritual that referred to the Second Coming of Christ!   Here  I thought it was just a nonsense song that was fun to sing on car trips.   It was a bit like realizing "Found a Peanut" is really a allegory about life and death and our eternal destiny!   Here are the original lyrics to "Comin 'Round the Mountain," according to Wikipedia:

O, who will drive the chariot When she comes? O, who will drive the chariot When she comes? O, who will drive the chariot, O, who will drive the chariot, O, who will drive the chariot, When she comes?
King Jesus, he'll be driver when she comes, When she comes . . . .
She'll be loaded with bright Angels When she comes . . . .
She will neither rock nor totter, When she comes . . . .
She will run so level and steady, When she comes . . . .
She will take us to the portals, When she comes . . . 

Soon we will be celebrating the birth of a babe in the manger.   Jesus, born so lowly, will return as our King of Kings and Lord of all.   This feminine chariot of the song will run rock steady with Jesus holding the reins.  

I never did understand how some little country gal could ride six white horses anyway. . . 

What I'm Listening To...

"I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll" sung by Gillian Welch on tonight's Prairie Home Companion radio show.

Generation Jones

Dad,  I learned today that I'm not actually a Baby Boomer as I've always thought.   I am a part of Generation Jones.   Did you know you had children that spanned two generations?  It's the name coined by social historian and commentator, Jonathan Pontell for children born between 1954 and 1965.  It seems we were affected by all the social changes of the sixties but mostly as observers and not participants.  We were just too young to fill those boots!  Yes, I listened to the music of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin but that's only because your oldest son had their records, the same son who was drafted along with his friends and cousins, while my classmates  and I just watched the end of the Viet Nam War on the TV news.   When you and Mom were worrying about the Cuban Missile Crisis, I was the child underfoot secretly worrying with you.  I do remember a serious discussion among kids under that big pine tree by our house about what would we do if communists took over and demanded that we deny Jesus.   Would it be okay to deny Jesus if we did it with our fingers crossed behind our backs?   I wondered if I would be strong enough to die valiantly defending my Lord.   

It's hard to march in a revolution while still wearing footie pajamas.   Instead we marched off to our Sunday School classes to the hymn, "Onward, Christian Soldiers."

Dad, your Baby Boomers and their pesky siblings, Generation Jones, are still hanging in there.  You loved us all, your ragamuffin legacy.   We'll be seeing you.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What I'm Listening To...

"Hallelujah Chorus" from Neil Diamond's Christmas Album, Vol. 11.  It's just great to sing along.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Life Isn't Fair

Something I learned before kindergarten is that life is not fair.   It was a lesson repeated today for me but not one I'd repeat in a blog.  It's the root of the Occupy movement, because it just seems lately that life is becoming less and less fair.  So I hold my own occupy movement in my little house under the weeping willow tree in this Babylon of modern society.  I will persevere.  I will live the life God has given to me. Yes, I will question God but I know He doesn't have to answer.   He is God and I am not.   I won't turn back.

Job 2:10 He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

What I'm Listening To...

"Carry Me Through" sung by Dave Barnes on his Me and You and the World album.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Redeeming Love

I grew up on the hymns of the church.   I loved them then and I love them still.   I was the little girl in the church pew singing with all my heart, "Years I spent in vanity and pride!"  I didn't know then that those years weren't behind me.   Saved young, yes, but I still had a full life ahead of me to sin against my Savior.  
"There is A Fountain Filled With Blood," written by William Cowper, is a hymn that I have yet to upload to Youtube.   The imagery is so strong in the lyrics that I'm not sure I could do it justice.   I do pray, however,  that, "Redeeming love shall be my theme, and shall be and shall be till I die."  Thank you, Lamb of God.

There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood
There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
I’ll sing Thy power to save,I’ll sing Thy power to save,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

What I'm listening To...

"Saved" by Third Day on their Offerings: A Worship Album.
"Sinner You'd Better Get Ready" by the Louvin Brothers on The Stained Glass Hour, Bluegrass and Old-Timey Gospel Music album.
"Fall On the Rock" by Buddy Miller on his Universal United House of Prayer album.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rescued By Love

Oh, to be a cat now that winter is here!   As I write my cat is crying her complaint over the heat vent shutting off near the chair she is sitting on.   Soon it will come on again, and she will rest satisfied that it has obeyed her command.   One of the blessings of this little house under the weeping willow tree is that our pets have been allowed to join us.   Animal shelters have also been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis.     I'm not sure how well I would have borne giving up our small pack.  I am thankful it wasn't asked of me.

Our pets actually seem happier in this house with a large fenced yard.  Our old cat who once spent all of her days resting on a pillow on the end of our bed can't hardly wait to be let outside and then back inside, out and in most of the day, unless otherwise engaged in comfort seeking.  Her amazing ability to hold onto a human lap has led me to call her a Klingon aka Cling On.   Then there's my son's dog, a former pound puppy,  who has cheerfully and literally stepped up to the plate in this house without a garbage disposal or dishwasher.   Earlier today I saved a pan of homemade shortbread my husband brought home from work from going to the dog.
Our God is in the rescue business.   He rescues the lost, the hurt and the suffering, sinners who need a Savior.  He shelters all who come to Him.  Love rescued me.

What I'm Listening To...

"I Pray on Christmas" sung by Dave Barnes on his Very Merry Christmas album.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Come to the Giver of All Good Things

I never believed in Santa, having had older siblings to set me straight.   For nearly as long as I can remember I have believed in Jesus, having had parents and older siblings to also set me straight.  Even knowing Christmas was all about Jesus, it was terribly kind of Him to allow children to have His gifts.   So, I knew where our Christmas gifts came from, and I knew where they were stored, the tallest shelf in my parent's closet.   As Christmas approached, I spent a great deal of time pouring over the Sears and Roebuck catalog, pencil in hand, to mark what I wanted, sometimes even totaling the costs, depending on my parents to work things out.

Christmas Eve my parents somehow managed to assemble, wrap, and tag all the gifts for their large brood.  The dining room table that they used was fortunately under the heat grate in my brothers' room.   We took turns at the grate trying to see and hear what we could, which was precious little to my parents' credit.  In the wee hours of the morning they would finally fall to sleep on the pull-out couch so they wouldn't have to get out of bed to watch us tear apart a night's worth of work in a remarkably short time.  

One year, I had my heart set on getting a Betsy Wetsy doll, and I was ever so sure that I'd find her under the tree.   A perfectly lovely doll was there instead, but she was no Betsy Wetsy!   Even knowing the source of my gift,  I still presented strange doll to my parents wailing that she wasn't Betsy!    They did their best to console me, and we looked over the doll while they pointed out her attributes; and before Christmas day was over, I had claimed her as my own.  I know now that the doll I got was probably the best they could buy with the money they had.  

Sometimes my prayers are much like my childish Christmas wish lists.   Even knowing the Giver, even knowing how He loves me,  I'm quite capable of treating Jesus like a Santa Claus who has wronged me. I neglect to let God be God, as I expect the universe to revolve around me.  Psalm 37: 4, says to "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."  I have to delight in Him so that His desires become mine.  Even as I write this I want to stamp a rebellious foot.  Oh, to be the child in this picture that is blissfully leaning on the Savior's breast, to be one of the children who come with their heads bowed to receive His blessing, how much better that would be!
We can trust our Heavenly Father to give His best.   He did send Jesus after all.