Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dismissed For Home

We lost a member of our church body this week, and I'm already missing him.  Who will let the little children know they are dismissed for children's church?  This was his calling, our church elder.    He laboriously made his way to the pulpit, already miked so he could talk as he walked, in pain but with great cheer.  His appearance meant the children could go to their own service.  He then read Scripture and prayed for us, and I so appreciated him and his Godly wisdom.  I know that someone will step up to pulpit in his place, as he would want it to be, bringing his own contribution to the body, but still we will miss him here on earth.  He is yet part of the body, the part that's graduated and gone to Heaven.  With great love, Jesus dismissed him to join them.  Well done, faithful servant, you're home.
Long Walk Home - The City Harmonic 
"Long Walk Home"

It’s a long walk home for the heart and soul
And as for me and mine we’ve got a ways to go
So I thank the Lord I don’t walk alone
‘Cause He’s a light unto my winding road
Step by step
Day by day
It’s a long walk home
But I know the Way
And I, for one, will run this old race
‘til Kingdom come and I see His face
Death, he keeps an easy street
But that highway isn’t meant for me
Step by step
Day by day
It’s a long walk home
But I know the Way
And I, for one, will run this old race
‘til Kingdom come and I see His face
Step by step
Day by day
It’s a long walk home
But I know the Way
And I will run, run, run this old race
‘til Kingdom come and I see His face
Ron Dicianni - Safely Home

Judah & The Lion - Sweet Tennessee (Official)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

God Is On My Side

Philippians 1:6New International Version (NIV)
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:31New International Version (NIV)
More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Chris Tomlin - Our God (Live)

Andrae Crouch&The All Star Choir-To God Be The Glory

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Out of the Mud Onto the Rock

Psalm 40:1-3New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 40[a]
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Isaiah 61:10New International Version (NIV)
10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

I pray that we who have left the miry clay for the solid rock will stay put.  To my shame I know that I can return to wallow in the mud, until my gracious Jesus once again lifts me out and washes me off.  Pigs wallow in the mud for a reason, regulating their body temperature and add a protective coat to their bodies.  We children of God are not pigs.   We are royalty in the Kingdom of our Lord.  May the only reason we have to visit the pit is to help others out of it.  
My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less - Deborah Liv Johnson

All Things New - New Man

Monday, July 28, 2014

God Sings Your Lullaby

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

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

Psalm 127:2English Standard Version (ESV)
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
    and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
    for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Psalm 42:8New International Version (NIV)
8 By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.

I think drawn to lullabies, because sleep is often elusive.  Pain will disrupt it so that I can't recall the last time I slept like a baby.  My God, who never sleeps, keeps watch over my nights, and I am thankful for his presence.  Sleep well, beloved of God, He gives you a song in the night.  
Lullaby - JJ Heller

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Song Because It Can Be...

Nahum 1:7English Standard Version (ESV)
7 The Lord is good,
    a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.

2 Corinthians 4:17English Standard Version (ESV)
17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

1 Thessalonians 5:18New International Version (NIV)
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 

a great challenge to praise God in the storm.  Still me must do so.  We must also grieve for our neighbor's storms and give comfort as we can.  I am reminded of this as someone dear to me has lost precious things which cannot be replaced, and I am very sorry that this has happened to her. 
Praise You In This Storm - Casting Crowns

I was sure by now
God, You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with You"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with You"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Be thou my vision, Alaska String Band

It's Sunday! Why Go To Church? Francis Chan

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Swedish In Me

Ruth 1:16New International Version (NIV)

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
I was enchanted with a tiny member of my husband's Swedish American family this week, so much so that I uploaded a song with her in mind.  I wonder what she must think of me a person so unlike the rest of her family with my own much diluted ethnicity.  Still after she presented me with a picture she had pasted and glued for me,  I fell head over heels for her again.  So she's the reason for the presence of blonde children in this Youtube upload of a JJ Heller song.  
 You Tell Me So - JJ Heller

The lyrics:
"You Tell Me So"

How high, how deep is your love for me 
And you will never let me go
Light or darkness, doesn't matter 
Because you will never let me go

And I will never cry alone
And You will always be my home
And You tell me so

You love everyone that I love 
More than I ever could
Though my days are filled with trouble
Lord I know you're good


Little ones to you belong 
When I am weak, you are strong…

A Ragamuffin's Story

“We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.” 
― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out

My husband and I just finished watching the "Ragamuffin" movie, a biopic of Rich Mullins life.  It was good…very good in fact, surprising good even to someone like me often jaded by the generally poor quality of Christian filmmaking.  Yes, there were some problems, like characters who didn't age like they would in real life.  I liked that movie wasn't afraid to show the artist's flaws as well as his strengths.  He loved God and was deeply loved by God, reason enough to tell his life's story.  "The Love of God" is a personal favorite of mine.
The Love of God - Rich Mullins
There's a wideness in God's mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone

Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

Now, I've seen no band of angels
But I've heard the soldiers' songs
Love hangs over them like a banner
Love within them leads them on

To the battle on the journey
And it's never gonna stop
Ever widening their mercies
And the fury of His love

Oh, the love of God and oh
The love of God, the love of God

Joy and sorrow are this ocean
And in their every ebb and flow
Now, the Lord a door has opened
That all hell could never close

Here I'm tested and made worthy
Tossed about but lifted up
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How Great God Is

Psalm 19:1New International Version (NIV)
For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

How Great Thou Art - Alan Jackson

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Looking Up

I just did a quick search of past blog posts and found a number of entries under Psalm 121.  Well here's another one.  I find in July that I am truly living in one of the most beautiful places on earth; and, if the tourists that descend on our town are any indication, I'm not the only one who feels that way.  I'd have to go around town with my eyes closed not to see the splendor the the mountains that rise up behind this little city between the mountains and the sea.   I only have to lift up my eyes to be reminded of the promises in this great Psalm, and I am comforted.  I am thankful for the years of teaching first grade Sunday School, too, with the required memorization of the passage in it's curriculum.  I pray that my former students are still lifting their eyes and remembering it also.  
Psalm 121 New International Version (NIV)
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 Lift My Eyes Up (Psalm 121) - Brian Doerksen 

MercyMe - Greater (Official Lyric Video)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

God's Holy Arm

Isaiah 52:9-10New International Version (NIV)

9 Burst into songs of joy together,
    you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people,
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord will lay bare his holy arm
    in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see
    the salvation of our God.

52:10 Rich Mullins
Revelation 22:20New International Version (NIV)

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

It's Sunday!

…A patrol has been sent out for you.  

Numbering Our Days

Mental arithmetic France 1956 Robert Doisneau
Psalm 90:12English Standard Version (ESV)
12 So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Isaiah 49:16New International Version (NIV)
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me.

Hebrews 8:12New King James Version (NKJV)
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds[a] I will remember no more.”[b]

James 1:12English Standard Version (ESV)
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

I was chatting with my mother today.  She told me her father had a photographic memory.  He could read something once and remember it.  He taught himself carpentry from reading and many other things.  His children would make a game out of it and try to find something in a book that he didn't know, but he always did.   My grandfather left his Nova Scotia home when he was 12 years old. somehow ending up in California, and would have gone hungry if it weren't for the abundant oranges.  The story picks up again when he saw my grandmother waiting at the train station for her father.  He declared then and there that he would marry that girl.  So he did.   He also never ate oranges again.  This conversation came about because I had googled his name and found the 1940 census for his very large family.  Only nine were listed, though, the older children having already left home.       
There so many things that are counted yet still forgotten in this life, that it makes me thankful we have a God that we can count on in eternity.  Consider what our Lord counts and what He doesn't.   He, who has the true photographic memory, promises to forget our sins but remember our love.  How wonderful is that?  
I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous How Wonderful) - Gaither Tent Revival

Saturday, July 19, 2014

When Sunflowers Wept

John 16:33English Standard Version (ESV)
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 34:18English Standard Version (ESV)
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

Luke 19:41New International Version (NIV)
41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it

The news this week has been so sad and tragedy so certain that one can imagine even the sunflowers wept over the evil men bestow upon one another. I know Jesus did.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The History Geek In Me...

Normandy Then and Now
Job 8:8-10English Standard Version (ESV)

8 “For inquire, please, of bygone ages,
    and consider what the fathers have searched out.
9 For we are but of yesterday and know nothing,
    for our days on earth are a shadow.
10 Will they not teach you and tell you
    and utter words out of their understanding?
finds these two pictures fascinating.  

I am Second® - Moriah Peters

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Our Impossibly Brave God

Deuteronomy 31:6English Standard Version (ESV)
6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Psalm 20:7New International Version (NIV)
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Philippians 4:13New King James Version (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.
Sometimes God calls upon us to be brave, braver than we ever thought we could be or ever want to be.  Then we also asks us to trust Him, not ourselves, Him.  It isn't easy when fear has been a life-long motivator.  It's time toss all useless fear aside, put on the full armor of God, and soldier on.  If you don't toss that fear far enough, toss it again and toss it again, if need be.  You're braver than you believe you are.  I liked this song by Mariah Peters, "Brave."
Brave - Moriah Peters

Monday, July 14, 2014

Still In the Fight

Proverbs 20:29English Standard Version (ESV)
29 The glory of young men is their strength,
    but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

Philippians 1:6New International Version (NIV)
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Tonight I am thankful for strong, young men and their ability to muscle a transmission out of a car, but I'm also thankful for my older, graying man, who was wise enough to hold the flashlight and dispense advice.  The young may glory in their strength but they don't have my old man's splendor.  I'll claim this verse for myself too.  I have gray hair, albeit colored, but it's all still there and it's mine.  I may not do more than shine a light, but I'll stay in the fight until God calls me home.  I'll look just splendid too.
Steve Green - He Who Began A Good Work In You [Official Music]

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Lord Is Good

Psalm 34:8 New International Version (NIV)

8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

NEEDTOBREATHE - "Multiplied" [Live Acoustic Video]

It's Sunday!

The 'Crown' and the "Wooden Church" (1966) | (Jim Peppler)
Park your car and come on in.

My Very Strong Shoes

Romans 5:3-5 English Standard Version (ESV)
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Philippians 4:13 English Standard Version (ESV)
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Psalm 32:7New King James Version (NKJV)
7 You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
Rheumatoid arthritis has taught me to appreciate strong shoes, because uneven ground is not my friend.  So I like this quote by Corrie Ten Boom.  I am reminded that God gives me strong, spiritual shoes to walk the hard roads of life.  God never called me to lead a comfortable life, as much as I would have liked it to be my calling.  (You want me to stay three weeks in a plush Hawaiian resort?  Here I am, Lord, send me.)  We are all meted out a measure of suffering in this life but, thankfully, we are also given grace beyond measure. 
You Are My Hiding Place - Selah 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Because It's Been Hot Today!

Isaiah 4:6New King James Version (NKJV)

6 And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My God, My Lifebelt

Examining Lifebelts on Titanic, A photograph of a board of trade inspector examining lifebelts on Titanic at Southampton

Proverbs 14:12New King James Version (NKJV)
12 There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

Psalm 127:1King James Version (KJV)
127 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Matthew 7:26New King James Version (NKJV)
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:

Hebrews 2:3New King James Version (NKJV)
3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,
John 14:6New King James Version (NKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
I was astounded to see that there was a lifebelt inspector on the Titanic!  I'm not sure why because it makes perfect sense; but hindsight allows me to see the near futility of his efforts, that he might have been better off taking a sick day.  I've spent time myself inspecting lifebelts when I should have been watching out for icebergs.    We're inspecting lifebelts too when we fail to heed God's instructions.  We're hitting icebergs when we ignore so great a salvation. God sent His Son to save us and gave us His word to know Him.  He is our compass.  He is our lifebelt.  He has charted our course and we are unsinkable.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What's On TV

Romans 12:2English Standard Version (ESV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[b]

Philippians 4:8English Standard Version (ESV)
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Just add a few more kids to this picture and it would look much like my family back in the day.  I grew up with television and still habitually watch it, even knowing there's much that isn't good on it.  I just looked up Bible verses that would pertain to television watching and I couldn't find one that justified it.  Sigh.  I do like TV.  My dad used to say that he didn't need a television guide because he had me.  He probably knew that I had already looked up everything that was on TV that night and selectively told him what to watch, leaving out shows I didn't want to watch.   These days I like watching "The Middle" and "Person of Interest," and because my husband likes it we also watch "Blue Bloods."    Most other shows are optional.  I write these things because we recently brought home a new TV.  Watching digital programming on an old analog TV wasn't so great and I was happy to upgrade.  It's amazing how much clearer things are, even things I shouldn't be watching.    I turned on a movie that was supposed to be good but had to turn it off because it was just too ugly, as it depicted sin without moral judgments.  I should never have turned it on in the first place.  Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.
Casting Crowns - Slow Fade

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tim Howard's Best Defense...

…is the peace of Christ!

George Jones - The Lily Of The Valley

It's Sunday!

Every eye closed, every head bowed...

A Vision for Peace

Norman Rockwell, The Peacecorps, JFK's bold legacy
Psalm 133:1King James Version (KJV)
133 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Hebrews 13:1English Standard Version (ESV)
13 Let brotherly love continue.
For the Fourth of July I uploaded a Peter, Paul & Mary song to Youtube, "Because All Men Are Brothers," and found myself thinking of my brother-in-law who served in The Peace Corp in the 1960's.  Because he left us too soon, I'm wishing that I had asked him about his service, what he did and why.  Was we driven to do good or was it a means to escape the draft?  If I had asked, he likely would have answered truthfully.  Regardless of his reasons, he served others as well as his country.  
I cherish an evening spent in his home, when this very quiet man pulled out his guitar and began play and sing.  He had a lovely voice and he honored us by sharing his gift.  I could almost see the young man that he had been as he sang. In his honor, here's a song for all those who dream of peace.
Because All Men Are Brothers - Peter, Paul & Mary
(written by Tom Glazer)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th!

He Finished The Course

Louis Zampereni, Olympian, World War II Hero, Survivor, Christian
2 Timothy 4:6-8King James Version (KJV)

6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

I woke up this morning to learn that Louis Zampereni went home after 97 years of life here on this side of eternity.  I've been inspired by his life story, most recently told in the book, "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand.  A true American hero, he was unbroken in all things but for his need for a Savior.  Christ calls sinners.  Christ called Louis.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


John 3:30 New International Version (NIV)

30 He must become greater; I must become less.”[a]

I like this new song by Colton Dixon, "More of You."  It's wonderful when the young use their talents and gifts for the Lord and not for man.  It's wonderful when the old do it too.