Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Odes of Devotion

Colossians 3:1-4
New International Version (NIV)
Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Acts 2:42
New International Version (NIV)
The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
I've been wondering tonight where I place my devotion.  Too often it is on the things of earth rather than the things above.  I've also been learning about the Odes of Solomon, possibly the church's first hymnal.  I suspect the early Christians knew more about devotion to Jesus than many of us today, myself included.  This song is from The Odes Project, which has put music to the words of the ancient poet.
"Like A Crown (Ode 1)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

There Is Something To Be Said...

...for sound theology...and Sunday School.

2 Timothy 3:15-17
New International Version (NIV)
15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

"The BIBLE" - Go Fish

Sunday school, Penderlea Homesteads, North Carolina. 1937. Library of Congress.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Soldier of the Cross

1 Corinthians 16:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

"Am I a Solder of the Cross" is a hymn I loved as a child but seems to have fallen out of use in the church.  It certainly stirred my young girl's heart.  Listening to it again tonight, I have found that it continues to stir this old mature woman's heart.  There aren't enough words to express my gratitude to my Savior who went to the cross for me.  Yes, I want to be His disciple; and when my cross seems to heavy to bear, I learn how often and how much he shoulders the burden for me.

"Am I a Soldier of the Cross"
Isaac Watts 

Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause,
Or blush to speak His Name?

Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.

Thy saints in all this glorious war
Shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar,
By faith’s discerning eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all Thy armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies,
The glory shall be Thine.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My God Who Didn't Pass Me By

Genesis 18:3-5
New International Version (NIV)
3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,[a] do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”

“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”
Hebrews 13:2
New International Version (NIV)
2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Matthew 25:35-40
New International Version (NIV)
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
My pastor asked his congregation, "Had any of us seen the homeless man resting on the front steps of the church as we entered in?"  I and a number of others raised hands to indicate we had.  Then he asked, "Do any of you know his name?"  No hands were raised, not even mine.  Sigh.  I had greeted him with a smile and a hello then passed by him and through the church's front.  doors, satisfied that I had met the standard of common courtesy.  Sometimes common courtesy is truly common.

I'm so glad my Savior didn't pass me by.
What I fail to do for the least of these, I fail to do for Jesus, whom I claim to love.  To have cared enough to have learned his name would have been such a simple act of kindness to someone whose only possession, other than the clothes on his back, was his name.   

By the way, his name was Daniel, a Hebrew name that means "God is my judge."

"Pass Me Not" - Fernando Ortega

Patsy Cline Duet w/ Slim Wilson :: Let's Go To Church

Sunday Best

Psalm 122

A song of ascents. Of David.

1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
1 John 1:7
New International Version (NIV)
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.

I remember how you used to say that, as a young man, you weren't interested in being a Christian because the women all dressed in long dresses and black stockings with their hair pulled back in a bun.  When I look at these pictures I think maybe you had a point!  It's good that you married a woman who always worked at looking pretty for church; and she helped you look ever so handsome in your suit and tie.  For a man who wore work overalls for most of the week you sure cleaned up nice on Sundays!  Another wonder is how she managed to get all of us kids clean and presentable too!  Mom still looks pretty at church having never given in to the casual dress trend that so many, including myself, have taken up.  As I write I think you must be looking mighty fine in your heavenly garments, perfect and spotless because of the Savior.  The blood of Jesus makes all of the redeemed beautiful in the House of the Lord.
"Nothing But the Blood" - Kathryn Scott

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My God Who Dispenses Medicine

Hebrews 12:11

English Standard Version (ESV)

11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

I had to go to the rheumatologist today.  He takes blood every visit to make sure the prescribed medicine is working and not shutting down my liver or some other awful business. Every prescription I take comes with dire warnings, leaving me to wonder what one will kill me first.  In spite of that, it's still better to take the medicine than not, because not doing so would render me an invalid.  
Sometimes it's so hard to do what is good for us, to swallow the medicine needed not just for our bodies but also our souls.  If I'm reluctant to acknowledge a sin, it's because I don't want to stop sinning.  I call my sins, mistakes, not sin, because they've become beloved pets; and like a child who can stop picking at a sore, I return again and again to revel in the pain of my sin.  
Step up, sinner.  Take the bittersweet cure that brings healing to your soul.  Jesus came to save sinners, such as I.  
"Fall On The Rock" - Buddy Miller

Abandon Kansas - "Marching Around Me" (Official Music Video)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lift Jesus Higher

Matthew 7:13
New International Version (NIV)
The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

My desire is that others may may come to Christ for the sake of their eternal souls as well as their mortal lives.  My desire, however, doesn't always match my courage, or lack of it.  In these days of moral relativism surrounded by others who believe a we should be tolerant of every lifestyle, it's can be scary to say what I really think, unless it is to others who believe as I do.  I live in a state that has legalized the right to die as well as same sex marriage and generally celebrates tolerance while disparaging fundamental Christian beliefs. So what's a Christian to do?  Lift Jesus higher.  
John 12:32
King James Version (KJV)
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 
"Lift Jesus Higher" - Emmylou Harris


Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs & Alison Krauss : Down In The Val...

Monday, July 22, 2013

My God Who Calls Me to Belief and Faith

Ephesians 2:8-9
New International Version (NIV)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
"I Believe" - Chris August

I've been reading about a church movement to bring the Kingdom of God here on earth.  What I've seen of it would greatly disappoint me if I believed it to be true.  The glory of God will be more than gold dust and feathers floating over a worship service, Scripture has shown it will be such glory that it would be unbearable to us in our mortal bodies.  I certainly don't want to limit God, because as God He can do as He pleases.  Still I eagerly wait for the revelation of His full glory when I do see Him face to face.  Until that day I will share in the sufferings of Christ, and in doing so, I will remain faithful.  When God chooses to be silent I will still speak for Him.  When God chooses to move, I will move with Him.  I will sin but God will perfect.  He will answer my despair with hope and my sorrow with joy.  Whatsoever He has promised in His Word, He will bring to pass.   I may struggle to count it all joy; but by the power and strength of God, I can.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Working As To The Lord

Colossians 3:23
New International Version (NIV)
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
We may not always like it, but most of us know to get the job done.  This is just a little encouragement as we face the work week ahead.  
"I Will Praise Him

It's Sunday!

Put on your crowns and get to church!

I Will Testify

The Gospel is good news, indeed!  My Jesus is in the business of saving wretches like me.

"Jesus Saves" - Buddy Greene, featuring Russ Taff

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Thank You - JJ Heller

Riding the Happy Train

Philippians 2:14
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing;

1 Timothy 6:6-7
New International Version (NIV)
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
Luke 3:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

Do all things without grumbling?  Really, God?   All things?   Yes, all things.  I have a small job with an accompanying small salary.  If I think I'm made for better things then shredding paper, God doesn't think so.  The same God who left His throne to suffer Calvary's cross has put me where I am and I should be thankful.  I write should be because, to my shame, I'm not always thankful. In other words, I'm the sour-faced rider on the happy train; and I'd better change my attitude before the conductor tosses me off.  So, right now, I'm thankful that my God has and will continue to forgive a sinner such as me.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Christ Who Saved Me...

1 Corinthians 1:18
New International Version (NIV)
Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Romans 1:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Mark 10:45
New International Version (NIV)
45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

...will also save you.  

"The Beautiful Terrible Cross" - Selah

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My God Walks the Ancient Paths

"Sweet Will of God" - Amy Grant
"Sweet Will Of God"

My stubborn will at last has yielded
I would be thine and thine alone
And this prayer my lips are bringing
Lord, let in me thy will be done

Sweet will of God, unfold me closer
Til I am wholely lost in thee
Sweet will of God, still fold me closer
Til I am wholly lost in thee

I am tired of sin, footsore and weary
The darksome path hath dreary grown
But now a light has risen to cheer me
I find in thee my Star, my sun


Thy precious will, O conquering Savior
Doth now embrace and compass me
The storms have ceased, my peace a river
My soul a prisoned bird set free

Knowing the will of God can confound me until I remember that He has told me His will in the Scriptures.  If what I'm doing is in agreement with the word of God than I am in his will.  When I meander off His path I will soon lose my way.  The ancient paths will always prove true.
Jeremiah 6:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls.
    But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My God, My Resting Place

Hebrews 11:1
King James Version (KJV)
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
John 1:1
New International Version (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I've been reading about spiritual movements that scream for the manifestations of the Holy Spirit but whisper the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I want Jesus above all signs and wonders.  I want to trust in the evidence of things not seen.  His Word is enough.  It would be the height of folly and arrogance to demand otherwise.  My God does not need to prove Himself, because He is God and I am not.
"My Faith Has Found a Resting Place" - Billy Foote & Cindy Foote

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Just Liked This...

New International Version (NIV)
24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

...because this image brings back so many good memories of my grandparents on the farm.  Grandpa smoked a pipe and Grandma helped him to break the habit, not by nagging, but by keeping a dish of lemon drops where he once kept his pipe.  The smell of a pipe and the taste of lemon drops will be forever sweet to my soul.  
"Diamond In My Crown" - Patty Loveless

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My God of the Battlefields

 1 Samuel 17:47
New International Version (NIV)
47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

I watched the World War II movie, "The Longest Day," yesterday and was inspired by Henry Fonda's portrayal of General Theodore Roosevelt Jr.  He was the only general on D-Day to land by sea with the troops and at 56 the oldest man in the Invasion.  Landing on Utah beach, he learned they were a mile off course.  After making a reconnaissance of the beach, cane and pistol in hand, he famously declared, "We'll start the war from right here!"  Suffering from arthritis and heart problems, he would die a little more than a month later in France and was posthumously awarded The Medal of Honor.  The citation read:

For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France. After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt's written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy. Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France.

It impressed me so much that a man with arthritis could be so brave that I set out to conquer a walk that night that I really shouldn't have tried to conquer.  So today, I hurt, my battlefield being ill chosen.  I need to start the war from where I am, not necessarily where I want to be.  Still, I want to be a good soldier for my Lord, the best soldier with rheumatoid arthritis I can be.  The battle is the Lord's, after all.

"The Battlefield" - Isaacs

General Roosevelt

It's Sunday!

Take the whole family to church!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sleep Well...

...for we have a Good Shepherd.

Psalm 4:8
English Standard Version (ESV)
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Proverbs 3:24
English Standard Version (ESV)
24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

"Jesus, The Good Shepherd"

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Enough God

Matthew 6:21
English Standard Version (ESV)
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

When I shop at Walmart with the young man who lives in our house but doesn't want to be blogged about we often end up in the electronics department.  My eyes are always drawn to the wall of bright, big flat screen TVs.  In comparison to our blurry home TV, these are marvels; and, if I had disposable income I'd likely snatch one of those up and bring it home.  Maybe that's why I don't have disposable income.  I spend too much time watching TV as it is.  I really like this song by Tim Timmons, "Great Reward," because it reminds me that God wants to be my enough.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My God of the Dance

2 Corinthians 3:6
King James Version (KJV)
6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Ecclesiastes 8:15
New Living Translation (NLT)
15 So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.

Even though I was saved by grace, I did time as a child in a legalistic church.  I wouldn't recommend it.  A community of believers should not be joy killers, but it happens.  I'm thankful still for that church because I loved the people, especially since I could only imagine Heaven with them there.  Even so, along with all the do's and don'ts, a class in dancing would have been good; and I  suspect that there are others like me with conservative church backgrounds who could use dancing lessons as well.  God recommends fun!  His grace is ever amazing!  Cheer up, Christian, it's truly good to be happy.  
"The Shores of Jordan" - Iris Dement

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Amen God

Matthew 26:30

King James Version (KJV)
30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

I was a child who loved singing the Doxology but for entirely childish reasons.  At the end of a communion service the congregation would rise to sing it and then we went out.  Yes! (fist pump) Yes, we just went out of church without the pastor holding us captive with a full on pastoral prayer!   It was such a great break for kids and I would suspect more than a few adults.  It was as if Jesus planned to end the Last Supper with just a hymn for the benefit for the generations of children to follow.  I enjoyed Tim Timmons song, "A Thousand Amens" on his Sons & Daughters worship album for children, and possibly adults who still remember being children.  
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
"A Thousand Amens" - Tim Timmons

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My One Way God

There are no shortcuts in life, no bypasses, no roundabouts, nor are there any other roads.  The only way Home is by way of the Cross, so I'll keep walking.  

"When I Survey The Wondrous Cross" - Bigstuf Band

Monday, July 8, 2013

My God of the Battlefields

A Red Cross nurse takes down the last words of a British soldier”. Somewhere on the Western Front. ca 1917...

“Don't bother to give God instructions; just report for duty."
― Corrie ten Boom

2 Timothy 2:3
New International Version (NIV)
3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:18
New International Version (NIV)
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

"Onward Christian Soldiers" was the anthem that sent me marching to my childhood Sunday school class; and, Oh, did I ever want to be a good soldier in the Lord's Army, not realizing then the cost paid or the cost required.  I didn't understand suffering then and fight against it even now.  Following Christ is an unavoidable invitation to suffer.  I can't step around it, only through it.  Since I'd rather leave this life wearing combat boots than glass slippers, I'll continue to report for duty.  
"We Won't Be Shaken" - Building 429

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Looking For Greener Grass

Philippians 4:11
New International Version (NIV)
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

I did my share this weekend of looking across the fence to greener pastures instead of being content with what God has given me.   God may not always give me what I want but He gives me what I need; even though this rebellious daughter sometimes thinks she knows her needs better than He does.  
Help me to be satisfied living in your house with my feet under your table.
"God Leads Us Along" - The Forbes Family

It's Sunday!

Milk the cows and get to church!

Hope's Daughters

Friday, July 5, 2013

I Know I'm Just Feeling Sorry For Myself...

...but shooting - injecting- myself with Enbrel really hurts.  So I remember the cross and my own pain diminishes.  
 Peter 4:12-13
English Standard Version (ESV)
Suffering as a Christian

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

"Nothing But The Blood" - Kathryn Scott

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Greatest Play in Baseball

Proverbs 14:34
New International Version (NIV)
34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
    but sin condemns any people.
A man committing a righteous act will never fail to move me.  When it happens in baseball that's like the kiss of cheese on apple pie.  On April 26,1976, Rick Monday made a great play.  He saved Old Glory from two flag burning protestors.  Well, played, Mr. Monday, well played.

"The Greatest Play in Baseball Rick Monday Saves the American Flag"

My God of the Peculiar

1 Peter 2:9
King James Version (KJV)
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
I know that there are many who might describe a Christian as peculiar but not necessarily in a good way,but God thought otherwise.  We are peculiar to Him and He gladly claims us.  We can't be hidden either, as a family might hide a peculiar relative; and, like trick candles on a birthday cake, our lights can't be blown out.  You make looks askance at a crazy, fundamentalist, born-again believer, but my prayer is that you won't look away.

"We Are (Acoustic) (Live) - Kari Jobe

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My God, My Night Watchman

"He Wraps Himself In Light" Daniel Gerhartz
Psalm 104:2
New International Version (NIV)
2 The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
    he stretches out the heavens like a tent
Psalm 121
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

I spent some years as a first grade Sunday School teacher.  The first quarter of the year was always devoted to the memorization of Psalm 121.  I'm not sure who benefited more, my students or myself.  I live at the base of a mountain range so this passage often comes to mind as I look out my window.  It's been so good to remember over the years, especially in the night hours when sleep is sometimes difficult.  I can trust my God who watches over me.

"Jesus, King of Angels" - Fernando Ortega

Monday, July 1, 2013

My God Who Satisfies my Thirst

It's been a hot day today so we refreshed ourselves tonight with root beer floats.  My husband has also had me listening to what may be his newest favorite song, "Come To the River" by the Rhett Walker band.  I like it too.  We are to first  lay ourselves before we can stand as a child of God.  Only He can truly satisfy a thirsty soul.  
Root beer floats are good too. 
The lyrics for "Come To the River"
I'm torn between myself and your truth
These cursed memories, forever seeping through
My thirst for myself left me wanting more
Till I found myself face down on your shore

You say, come to the river
Oh, and lay yourself down and let your heart be found
You say come to the river
Drink from the cup I pour and thirst no more

My restless heart, led me astray
To my selfish pride I became my own slave
But you placed a thirst in me with no drink in sight
'Cause I could not see till I saw through your eyes