Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Story to Bless

I greatly enjoyed a Laura Story concert tonight.  She's a gifted musician but also a lovely woman with an endearing sense of humor.   Pray for her safety tonight, because she is possibly still on the road.   Pray for her and her husband, Martin.   They have a remarkable story which is at the heart of her "Blessings" album.   God is refining this young couple through fire.   Still they have joy.

It's late now and I am nearly asleep at my keyboard.   Sleep well.   Cast your cares on the One who loves  us so.  

What I'm Listening To...

"Immortal, Invisible" by Laura Story from her Great God Who Saves album.

Immortal, You are not are like a man
That you change your mind
or change your plan
Invisible, our human eyes can't see
The Depths of your majesty

You're the God of forever and ever amen
The alpha, omega, beginning and end
We sing hallelujah
We worship in awe
Immortal, invisible God

Immortal, You are not bound by death
You're the living God, my very breath
Invisible you are not bound by space
But your glory is filling this place
Yes your glory is fill this place

Monday, January 30, 2012

Building On The Rock

In this season of life where my state of contentment shifts like sand under the ocean's tide,  I find myself avidly watching Home and Garden Television shows.  Strange, I know.  Someone could probably write a case study on it.  When we were foreclosed on I would have sworn I'd never, ever wanted to a home owner again.  Now I discover that I may no longer want a house of my dreams but a house of lowered expectations might be okay. . . someday.   A tiny seed of hope arise that God, in his timing, may yet  restore what the locusts have eaten.  (Joel 2:25)   I know that there are many who believe foreclosed homeowners were fools building their houses upon the sand.   I also know we were once good people with reasonable expectations and money in the bank; but we were simply unable to hold back the unexpected tsunami wave that can overtake even nice, normal, reasonable people.   I can only pray that God, in His economy, not man's, will use this for His purpose and glory.   Until then, any building I do will be upon The Rock of Ages.

Rock of Ages - Fernando Ortega

What I'm Listening To...

"This Is Not The End" from Gungor's Ghosts Upon The Earth album.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One of The Family

God occupies with me this little house under the willow tree.   Wherever you are and whatever space you are occupying is God is there.   You are never lost to Him, and you will never lose His sure Presence in your life.   Once my parents took all of us but the baby to the Seattle World's Fair.   A sister and I, the two youngest, were caught up watching an exhibit when we suddenly realized we were alone!   As we broke into simultaneous tears my brother appeared to bring us back to the family.   There are have been times in my life when I've felt alone, apart from God.   There have been times when I've doubted my place in His family.   Still he gathers me to Himself.   It may take a brother or sister to show the way, so I am thankful for all those special people in my life.   At the same time, I am honored whenever I've been used by God for this purpose.   It's good to be part of God's family.

God Leads Us Along - Forbes Family
This old gospel song has come to mind, "The Family of God"

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God
I’ve been washed in the fountain
And cleansed by His blood
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod
For I’m a part of the family
The family of God

You will notice we say "brother and sister" 'round here
It’s because we’re a family and these folks are so near
When one has a heartache we all share the tears
We rejoice in each victory in this family so dear

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God
I’ve been washed in the fountain
And cleansed by His blood
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod
For I’m part of the family
The family of God

From the door of an orphanage to the house of the King
No longer an outcast, a new song I sing
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong
I’m not worthy to be here but praise God I belong

I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God
I’ve been washed in the fountain
And cleansed by His blood
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod
For I’m a part of the family
The family of God

Yes I’m a part of His family
The family of God

What I'm Listening To...

"Remember" by Laura Story on her Blessings album.


This is the body that was torn for us
This is the blood that was spilt
Points to the pain you endured for us
Points to the shame, the blame, the guilt

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come
Move our hearts to remember

This is the Lamb who was slain for us
So we the church may enter in
So bitter sweet when we think of You
The One who bore our curse, our sin

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come
Move our hearts to remember, to remember

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come
Move our hearts to remember

Measure of A Life

There was a moment today when my own nearly grown child took my breath away.  It's one of the pleasures of parenting.   On another day there was another moment when I saw my special-needs great nephew walking unaided.  I've just read that Republican presidential hopeful, Rick Santorum, has had to cancel his plans in Florida to be with his hospitalized daughter, a child born with a genetic disorder, Trisomy 18.  She is now in my prayers.  I do think Jesus cares more about the needs of a sick child than about who is ahead in a presidential race.  Since we have a God who loves children, so should we love them.  His own words are recorded in Matthew 19:14:

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Keep You Safe - JJ Heller

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What I'm Listening To...

Sojourn's "Absent From the Flesh" from Jamie Barnes - The Mercy Seat EP.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Things Into Which Angels Long to Look

I know you're not an angel because God has made His children joint heirs with Christ.  Wow!  What an inheritance you left us when you and Mom raised your children to know Jesus as their Savior!   We, who were created a little lower than the angels, are now being served by them, all because Jesus became man for us.  A comment left on one of my YouTube videos had me thinking about your life in Heaven.   I know there is no sorrow or sin there, so if you are looking down at us from some balcony in Heaven, God has likely filtered all the bad stuff out.   It does make me hope that when we meet again, we'll have some catching up to do, because there will be much good that I can share with you.   You did so enjoy the family stories!   I don't want to just shrug my shoulders when you ask, "What's new?"  I'm going to add a column by Billy Graham, someone you respected, to this blog.   Are the angels even more beautiful than the pictures men paint of them?   If so, I bet you're looking pretty good right now too.  

Angels are mere servants of God

Published 10:00 p.m., Sunday, January 21, 2007
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I've always been fascinated by angels, because I believe they are real and will help us if we pray hard enough. Could you give me some Bible verses that tell about angels and how they'll help us if we ask them? -- P.Y.
DEAR P.Y.: God created the angels, and the Bible tells us that they are His servants, sent by Him into the world to carry out His will and work for our good. The Bible says, "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14).
Although they may take visible form on occasion, the angels are spiritual (not physical) beings, and their work is largely invisible to us. I'm sure that when we get to heaven we'll be amazed to discover just how often God's angels protected us or intervened on our behalf, although we were unaware of it at the time. God's promise through the psalmist concerning the Messiah applies to us as well: "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways" (Psalm 91:11).
At the same time, we aren't to worship the angels or beg them to act for us; our prayers instead should be to God, who alone is their commander. When the Apostle John started to worship the angel who had shown him God's message about the future, the angel rebuked him: "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you. ... Worship God!" (Revelation 19:10).
Is your hope in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, and are you looking to Him to protect you and be with you? Don't let anything take Jesus' place in your life, for He alone is "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16).

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Angels-are-mere-servants-of-God-1224020.php#ixzz1kiqWRFmv

Up Above My Head I Hear Music In The Air - Kevin Max

What I'm Listening To...

"I Will Follow" by Chris Tomlin just played on Praise 106.5 from his And If Our God Is For Us... album.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Growing Old Together

For the second time in as many weeks, my husband and I were asked if we qualified for a senior discount.   I'm heading to the hairdressers on Tuesday to repair my much neglected roots.   Now if I can just send my husband to a spa, because I'm sure my birthday boy is the reason we've been asked.   Happy birthday, honey!   Just when did I marry an old man anyway?  

Proverbs 16:21 (NIV)
Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.

Grow Old With Me - Mary Chapin Carpenter

What I'm Listening To...

"The Very Thought of You" sung by JJ Heller on her Deeper album.

"The Very Thought Of You"
The very thought of you and I'll forget to do
Those little ordinary things that everyone ought to do
I'm living in a kind of daydream
I'm happy as a queen
And foolish though it may seem
To me that's everything

The mere idea of you, the longing here for you
You'll never know how slow the moments go till I'm near to you
I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It's just the thought of you
The very thought of you, my love

[Instrumental Interlude]

I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It's just the thought of you
The very thought of you, my love
The thought of you
The very thought of you, my love

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lost Child, Lost Sheep

These two images seem to go together, The Lost Child and The Lost Sheep.   Jesus seemed to understand how much word pictures spoke to us and taught many lessons through parables.   We, who are parents, know how long and how far we would search for a lost child.   In the same way Jesus will search for us.  It's a picture to help us understand His love for us.  It's more than just the search for the lost, it's also bringing that one back into the fold.   We are never truly lost to God.   He always knows where we are.   His desire is to have us near and safe, cared for as only He can.   Children need a father.  Sheep need a shepherd.   We all need a Savior.

Luke 15: 3-7 (NIV)

 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Hymn - Brooke Fraser

What I'm Listening To...

"A Little Longer" by Brian and Jenn Johnson on their We Believe album.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Content By God's Strength

I love this old photo of a dust bowl family in a migrant camp.   The contented look on the mother's face as she plays her violin both inspires and charges me with my own discontent.  It has reminded me to read once again Philippians 4: 4-9 and 12

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

How Emptiness Sings -Christa Wells

What I'm Listening To...

"You Don't Love God If Don't Love Your Neighbor" by Rhonda Vincent on her The Storm Still Rages
The lyrics:

There are many people
who will say they're Christians
and they live like Christians on the Sabbath day

But come Monday morning, til the coming Sunday
They will fight their neighbor all along the way

Oh you don't love God, if you don't love your neighbor
if you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
if he gets into trouble, and you don't try to help him
then you don't love your neighbor, and you don't love God

In the Holy Bible, in the Book of Matthew
Read the 18th chapter in the 21st verse
Jesus plainly tells us that we must have mercy
There's a special warning in the 35th verse

Oh you don't love God, if you don't love your neighbor
if you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
if he gets into trouble, and you don't try to help him
then you don't love your neighbor, and you don't love God

There's a God almighty, and you've got to love him
if you want salvation and a home on high

If you say you love him while you hate your neighbor
then you don't have religion, you just told a lie

Oh you don't love God, if you don't love your neighbor
if you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
if he gets into trouble, and you don't try to help him
then you don't love your neighbor, and you don't love God

Oh you don't love God, if you don't love your neighbor
if you gossip about him, if you never have mercy
if he gets into trouble, and you don't try to help him
then you don't love your neighbor, and you don't love God

then you don't love your neighbor, and you don't love God

Monday, January 23, 2012

Singing For A Faithful God

If I had to sing for my supper, I'd have to go hungry, such is my musical talent.   I'll sing, however, for God, my Father, with all my heart and with the voice he has given me.   I love Him so!   He has opened up his abundant storehouses and has given me all that I need.  If he withholds my wants it's only because He knows what is best for me.   This is good to remember from my little house under the willow tree.  It too is from God, so I am thankful.
Phillipians 4:19 (NIV)

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 7:7-11 (NIV)
  7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.   9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

He's Always Been Faithful - Sara Groves

What I'm Listening To...

"Warrior" from Sojourn's Over The Grave album.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Born This Way

Numbers 32:23 (NIV)
23 “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.

My mother truly knew that we were to hide God's word in our heart so that we may not sin against God.  This verse from Numbers was one she was determined to drive deep into her children's hearts.   How else to keep her large brood in line?   We grew up knowing sin was sin and not just a mistake, a personal choice, or a lapse in judgment.    I wish I could write that it kept us from sinning, because it didn't, but it sure taught us that there were consequences to sin!  She had such an uncanny ability to ferret out trouble that we were generally well-behaved children.  A bar of soap in a mouth helped to cleanse sin in a repentant child's heart.  The excuse so often used today to explain sinful behavior, born that way, is actually true.  We are born sinners in need of a Savior.  Jesus came for a reason, love, and what love it is that cleanses a heart from sin!   There's not enough soap in a mother's cupboard to do that for a child.   It took the blood of Jesus.

This old Louvin' Brothers song tells it straight:

What I'm Listening To...

"Hush Child" by Kate Hurley on the Vinelife Unplugged album.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Two Crowns

Two Crowns by Sir Frank Dicksee

I've seen this romanticized image of a victorious king many times on photobucket without ever really seeing it.   It wasn't until today that I saw the dark image of the crucifix; and it's no wonder because I'm probably more self-centered than my cat.  All that I have is because of that crown of thorns.  In this age of social networks, where I try so hard to be cooler than I am on the internet,  I must never forget the grace of God.  It is only by the blood of Jesus shed for my sins that I am able to dare enter the throne room of God.   To God be the glory.

Galatians 6:14 (NIV)
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Revelations 4:10,11 (NIV)
10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

11“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”

Hosanna - Phil Driscoll

What I'm Listening To...

"Blessings" by Laura Story on her Blessings album.

Those Who Go Down to the Sea In Ships

I live in a port town and see many ships pass through our waters.   We're expecting a storm tonight, so I'll pray for those who may be out there.   If you are going through a storm of the soul tonight, my prayers are with you also.   Be comforted, we have a God who calms the sea and guides us to a safe place.  Jesus will deliver you, as He has delivered me, and will continue to pilot us through every passing storm.

Psalm 107: 23 -32 (New King James Version)

 23 Those who go down to the sea in ships,
         Who do business on great waters,
 24 They see the works of the LORD,
         And His wonders in the deep.
 25 For He commands and raises the stormy wind,
         Which lifts up the waves of the sea.
 26 They mount up to the heavens,
         They go down again to the depths;
         Their soul melts because of trouble.
 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
         And are at their wits’ end.
 28 Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble,
         And He brings them out of their distresses.
 29 He calms the storm,
         So that its waves are still.
 30 Then they are glad because they are quiet;
         So He guides them to their desired haven.
 31 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
         And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
 32 Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,
         And praise Him in the company of the elders. 

Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me - BiFrost Arts

Friday, January 20, 2012

What I'm Listening To...

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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Piano Lessons

Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Some good folks gave my folks years ago an old upright piano, probably figuring a family as big as ours would get use out of it.   I learned how to play chopsticks.   I'm sure we all learned how to play chopsticks, however, only one sister really learned to play the piano.   She became a missionary pastor's wife, so what my parents spent on lessons was well spent, considering how pastors' wives were expected to play.   Through the years, she faithfully followed her husband to tiny churches playing hymns, bringing the good news, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They are retired from the ministry now, if ministers ever really retire.  I believe pastors' wives won't be expected to play the piano in Heaven, but can play if they want to do so.   Play on, good sister, play on.

All the Poor and Powerless - All Sons & Daughters

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's Wonderful When It All Comes Together...

1 Corinthians 10:31

New International Version (NIV)

 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

We Try So Hard to Do Our Very Best...

What I'm Listening To...

"The Way of the Fire" by Jill Phillips from her "Writing On the Wall" album.

The water rose above my head
The next thing I remember I was carried down the stream
Left me washed up on that shore
But the power of the flood still burned inside of me
It’s the way of the fire
It’s the way of the fire
I took the first step without fear
I didn’t see the danger of what the stream could do
Then I felt the undertow
Of all the things I asked for coming true
It’s the way of the fire
(Just one step into the flame)
It’s the way of the fire
(He starts consuming everything)
And it’s all gonna’ burn
(I’m refined and strengthened by)
The way of the fire
I don’t know how long I have been
Lying in the stillness staring up at blue
But I hear the voice within
Say “Come back in the water”, and I do
And the river’s rise is a scary thing
But it always runs downstream
The way of the fire

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snow Day

We're having a snow day, possibly a snow week, in this region more accustomed to rain than anything else.  Large clumps of snow are clinging to my weeping willow tree, freezing its tears for another day.  School children, who pray most fervently for such an event, are enjoying their snow days, parents who still have to go to work... not so much.  For those who know the Lord we are reminded how we have been washed whiter than snow.  

Psalm 51:7

New King James Version (NKJV)

 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
         Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

What I'm Listening To...

"I Am a Seed" by the David Crowder Band on their Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]) album.
I Am a Seed
David Crowder Band

Oh I've been pushed down into the ground
Oh how I've been trampled down
So many feet on top of me
I can't help but sink, sink, sink

Oh I've been pushed down into the ground
Oh how I have been trampled down
Lord I put my trust in thee
You won't turn your back on me

Oh I am a seed
Oh I am a seed
I've been pushed down into the ground
But i will rise up a tree

Oh I can see it won't be long
Till I break free from what I was
Your river of grace flows endlessly
You won't turn your back on me

Oh I am a seed
Oh I am a seed
I've been pushed down into the ground
But i will rise up a tree

I've been burned up in so many fires
From these ashes I will rise
Lord your power has rescued me
For you I'll always sing

Oh I am a seed
Oh I am a seed
I've been pushed down into the ground
But I will rise up a tree

Oh I am a seed
Oh I am a seed
Won't stay long here in this earth
When you rain your love on me
Lord, rain your love on me

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Day to Honor a Man

I've been watching a History Channel show on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  He was an imperfect man like many who had their story told in God's Word, but he was also used by God to accomplish His purposes.   God places us all in a place and time for His purpose, and no purpose is too small.   It may be that only God knows what that purpose is; but live knowing that your story will be told in Heaven one glorious day.
Micah 6:8 (NIV)

8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. 
   And what does the LORD require of you? 
To act justly and to love mercy 
   and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

What I'm Listening To...

"Happy Trails" by Roy Rogers on his Hoppy Gene and Me album,
"Sentimental Worried And Blue" by The Sons Of The Pioneers" on their four disc My Saddle Pals And I album.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mine! All Mine!

This little house under the willow tree is still too full of stuff.  It has me wondering what I can and should let go of next.   Even though we lost much when we lost our house; it doesn't take much to fill such a tiny house.  Foreclosure may have cured me of the desire to accumulate more.   I don't shop for recreation and I no longer go garage sailing, as I used to call it.   While gazing upon my pretty things, I was in danger of losing sight of what is truly important, my relationship with my Savior.   I don't know if I'll ever live in a large home again before I move into my promised mansion in Heaven; but, if I am so blessed, I pray that I'll fill it with God's love.  Such a love it is!   Because of His love He gave His only Son to redeem a sinful world.   Because Jesus allowed his hands and feet to be pierced by nails for me, I will be His hands and feet while I yet have breath. With empty hands, open arms, and bare feet, I can dance with my Father.

What I'm Listening To...

"Oh Great God, Give Us Rest" by the David Crowder Band on their Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Boy's Prayer

When you wake up in the night with fearful thoughts, it's always time to pray.

A good flashlight and a warm dog doesn't hurt either.

"A Little Boy's Prayer" sung by Porter Wagoner
       You might need a tissue for this one...

Looking to Jesus

Psalm 123:2 (NIV)
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy.

May my eyes stay focused o the Lord my God so I may see His hands of mercy, the nail scarred hands that were pierced for my sins.  May I not be so easily distracted by the things of the world  that my own hands are too busy to show others mercy In the name of Jesus.   May I keep my own hands free to serve my Lord, and do so with a willing heart. 

Presence - Kathryn Scott

Do you remember that day at the lake, when I was so small and had not yet learned to swim?  I discovered I could walk with my hands in the shallow water, so I called out to you and Mom resting on the shore, "Look, I'm swimming!"   Just then a boy on a inflatable raft floated over the top of me pushing me to the bottom.   There was that awful feeling of drowning followed by your strong hands lifting me our of the water and into your arms.   I learned then the meaning of Love Lifted Me.   But that's another song...

Love Lifted Me - Billy Foote & Cindy Foote