Thursday, June 30, 2016

Love For the Weary Soul

Psalm 13:5 New International Version (NIV)
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

My soul has been feeling weary this week, so my heart has found comfort in another hymn I've known since childhood, "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go."    George Matheson, the author, was indeed familiar with heartbreak,  This was written of hymn and the genesis of the song as found in Wikipedia:

One of his hymns, "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go," has passed into the popular hymnology of the Christian Church. Matheson himself wrote of the composition:

"I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure that it never received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other verses I have ever written are manufactured articles; this came like a dayspring from on high." [1]

"O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go" was written on the evening of Matheson’s sister’s marriage. Years before, he had been engaged, until his fiancĂ©e learned that he was going blind—that there was nothing the doctors could do—and she told him that she could not go through life with a blind man. He went blind while studying for the ministry, and his sister had been the one to care for him through the years, but now she was gone. He was now 40, and his sister’s marriage brought a fresh reminder of his own heartbreak. It was in the midst of this circumstance and intense sadness that the Lord gave Matheson this hymn, which he said was written in five minutes.

I'm not sure if there are any other vocal groups that can do justice to a hymn of this sort than the Gaither Vocal Band.

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go [Live]

We Believe (acoustic) Newsboys cover- Lauren Daigle

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

When Christians Suffer

1 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.

1 Peter 1:6-7 English Standard Version (ESV)
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Job 2:10 New International Version (NIV)
10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish[a] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

My grandmother, a mighty woman of faith, still despaired in the nursing home, saying, "I don't understand why God doesn't just take me home!"  It can be hard even for strongest Christians to accept suffering.  It probably explains why God has given us in His word, so much instruction in how to suffer.  Still, I can't say I like it.  I doubt that our gracious God expects us to like it either, as He carries us through it until that day His glory is revealed.  

Praying With a Broken Heart - Sarah Hart

Matthew West - Grace Wins

Monday, June 27, 2016

Decently And In Order

1 Corinthians 14:40 English Standard Version (ESV)
40 But all things should be done decently and in order.

Mark 6:39-41 English Standard Version (ESV)
39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all.

She remains a mystery to me, my mother.  Summer tourists rolling through my town remind me of the camping trips my parents took us on when we were children.  How my mother managed organize a car full of children, camping equipment, food, dishes, towels, swimming suits, play clothes, sleeping bags, pillows and even a potty seat, I do not know.  But she did.  Yes, she had help from Dad, loading the car, driving and setting up camp; but how did she ever manage to pull off such an endeavor in an age where you couldn't on a McDonald's in every town?  I can remember her passing back wax paper wrapped tuna sandwiches into the back seat of the car as we rode along.  I can remember her timing our showers in order to get the most children clean in a campground pay shower on a hard earned dime.  We may have looked like ragamuffins but we were clean.  They both seemed happy, my parents, surrounded by children tucked in sleeping bags, and surprisingly relaxed.  
Organization may not be a fruit of the spirit but it seems to have been my mother's spiritual gift.  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

It Is For Freedom

Romans 8:1-2 English Standard Version (ESV)
Life in the Spirit
8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

John 8:36 English Standard Version (ESV)
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

I was on the internet today looking up Christian patriotic songs, anticipating the upcoming 4th of July.  I don't know how I missed this one until now, the Gaither Vocal Band singing "Let Freedom Ring," but I had.  The desire for freedom has been placed in every heart, but true freedom is the desire fulfilled by the blood of Christ.
Let Freedom Ring [Live]

Deep within the heart has always known that there was freedom
Somehow breathed into the very soul of life
The prisoner, the powerless, the slave have always known it
There's something that keeps reaching for the sky

And even life begins because a baby fights for freedom
And songs we love to sing have freedom's theme
Some have walked through fire and flood to find a place of freedom
And some faced hell itself for freedom's dream

Let freedom ring wherever minds know what it means to be in chains
Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key
We can be free and we can sing, let freedom ring

God built freedom into every fiber of creation
And He meant for us to all be free and whole
When my Lord bought freedom with the blood of His redemption
His cross stamped pardon on my very soul

I'll sing it out with every breath, I'll let the whole world hear it
This hallelujah anthem of the free
That iron bars and heavy chains can never hold us captive
The Son has made us free and free indeed

Let freedom ring down through the ages from a hill called Calvary
Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key
You can be free and you can sing let freedom ring
Let freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key
You can be free and you can sing let freedom ring

You can be free and you can sing, let freedom ring, let freedom ring

Ryan Stevenson - In The Sun (Official Music Video)

It's Sunday!

We got to church!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Never A Stranger

Psalm 68:5 English Standard Version (ESV)
5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
    is God in his holy habitation.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 English Standard Version (ESV)
God of All Comfort
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Some years ago I was asked to upload to Youtube a Fernando Ortega song that was a comfort to someone whose loved one had Alzheimer's.  I had to take the song down for a while, but two years ago I was able to upload it again.  Now I have a loved one with Alzheimer's and now it comforts me.  We'll never be a stranger to God. 

Don't Let Me Come Home A Stranger - Fernando Ortega

Thursday, June 23, 2016

No Random Arrows

The Death of King Ahab

An Aramean soldier, however, randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops and hit the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. “Turn the horses and get me out of here!” Ahab groaned to the driver of his chariot. “I’m badly wounded!” I Kings 22:34.

Both Elijah and Micaiah, genuine prophets of God, told Ahab that God would judge him for his sinful actions, among them taking Naboth's vineyard, not to mention his support of idolatry. He went into this battle anyway, even after showing some repentance in ch. 21. King Jehosaphat of Judah floated the idea that they take on a common enemy and Ahab was duped into a false sense of confidence by the false prophets. The end result is v.34.

Sometimes Matthew Henry's commentary says things about as well as it can be said. On this verse, Henry stresses God's guidance of this "random" arrow. He points out that God got the man he was after, and nailed the man at about his only vulnerable spot. Doom was inescapable for Ahab. God knows how to find the individual, and his takedown, however difficult it may seem, is certain.

What I am hoping is that the exact opposite is also true: That God can and will locate whom he wishes to bless, and will overcome all odds to bless him/her.
beanscot's husband

Hillary Scott & The Scott Family - Thy Will

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Because I'm Kind of Fond of Milkmen

A kind milkman...1954--As the temperature reaches 109.3 degrees, St. Louis Dairy route man Kenneth Hogan proves a good neighbor, handing out big chips of ice to children.

Matthew 10:42 New English Translation (NET Bible)

42 And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, I tell you the truth, he will never lose his reward.”

I AM THEY - Over & Over Again: Song Sessions

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Helmets Optional

Psalm 118:6 English Standard Version (ESV)
6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
    What can man do to me?

Isaiah 41:10 New English Translation (NET Bible)
10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you!
Don’t be frightened, for I am your God!
I strengthen you—
yes, I help you—
yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand!

Jude 24 New English Translation (NET Bible)
Final Blessing
24 Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling, and to cause you to stand, rejoicing, without blemish before his glorious presence,

No, I'm not a fearful Christian! 
Oh, but I am.  I know God can uphold me but worry that He won't.  He's got so many hands to hold, He might miss mine.  So though I'm living in the shadow of the cross, indwelled with the Spirit, drenched in His grace, I still scramble for the world's protection.  I wear the stupid helmet.
Shadows - David Crowder Band 

Chris Tomlin - I Lift My Hands

Monday, June 20, 2016

Because Today I've Been Thinking About Family...

Farm family, Nina Leen

Exodus 20:12 English Standard Version (ESV)
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Will The Circle Be Unbroken?
There are loved ones in the glory[1]
Whose dear forms you often miss.
When you close your earthly story,
Will you join them in their bliss?
Will the circle be unbroken
By and by, by and by?
Is a better home awaiting
In the sky, in the sky?
In the joyous days of childhood
Oft they told of wondrous love
Pointed to the dying Saviour;
Now they dwell with Him above.
You remember songs of heaven
Which you sang with childish voice.
Do you love the hymns they taught you,
Or are songs of earth your choice?
You can picture happy gath'rings
Round the fireside long ago,
And you think of tearful partings
When they left you here below.
One by one their seats were emptied.
One by one they went away.
Now the family is parted.
Will it be complete one day?

[ HiFi ] Will The Circle Be Unbroken Vol.2/Nitty Gritty Dirt Band/Johnny Cash/Ricky Skaggs

Big Daddy Weave - If You Died Tonight

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

Victory Over Death

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 English Standard Version (ESV)

54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

I spend my work days serving customers, who Christ would call, "the least of these."  Many of them are on their way out of this world, as we all are, but their time here is clearly ending, and some are truly terrified.  I give what comfort I can; but not being allowed to share Jesus with them, it's never enough.  So I offer up silent prayers and trust their souls to God.  

Cannot Have My Soul (Acoustic)
Robbie Seay Band - Topic 

Crowder - Run Devil Run

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Behold the Lamb

John 1:29 English Standard Version (ESV)

Behold, the Lamb of God
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

He's here!  He has come!  Do you want to meet Him?  

Forgive me, Father, when I'm afraid to share the Good News, valuing my own comfort over the the salvation of others.  Help me to defeat self doubt and shyness with a holy boldness and courage to proclaim your name.

Big Daddy Weave - If You Died Tonight

Matt Maher - Abide With Me: Song Session

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Consider The Lilies

I've heard my pastor marvel at how God the Creator placed flowers in mountain fields where men never walk, simply because their beauty gives Him pleasure. We, ourselves, in this house of the level path have benefited by an unknown gardener, a previous tenant, who planted flowers that give us pleasure long after he's moved on.  They simply grow season by season attended only by God.  

This points out, and depending on the situation, sometimes painfully, that our pleasure isn't primary to God. Things were created at his discretion, not ours. God was the judge that declared the creation "good". And everything is intended for His glory, his satisfaction. The "everything" is a rather large category. Thankfully, God lets us in on many a temporal pleasure, and of course there is heaven ahead.  

Unlike the lilies we were created for an eternity with God.  So consider the lilies; and then consider how God must see us, redeemed through the Son, adopted by the Father, nourished by the Word, and guided by the Holy Spirit.  So until that day He calls us home, remember your life is being attended by a most careful and loving gardener.  

For from him and through him and for him are all things.

    To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36

Beanscot and Beanscot's Husband

Consider The Lilies - Patty Green 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

People Need the Lord

Matthew 28:18-20 English Standard Version (ESV)

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

John 12:32 King James Version (KJV)
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

When young lives are lost as Satan rejoices, it's time for the redeemed to sing and sing again Salvation's song.  President Obama described the Orlando night club as a place of solidarity and empowerment, and my heart broke that such a place wasn't Christ's own church.  People need the Lord.  Rather then be in the way, may we show the way to the Savior.  

Steve Green - People Need The Lord (Live)

Jordan Feliz - Never Too Far Gone (Lyric Video)

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Good Word

Proverbs 15:23 New English Translation (NET Bible)

23 A person has joy in giving an appropriate answer,
and a word at the right time—how good it is!

You Don't Love God if You Don't Love Your Neighbor [Live]

Sunday, June 12, 2016

As We Mourn, Again

Jeremiah 31:13 New English Translation (NET Bible)

13 The Lord says, “At that time young women will dance and be glad.
Young men and old men will rejoice.
I will turn their grief into gladness.
I will give them comfort and joy in place of their sorrow.

Come, Ye Disconsolate - Sarah Hart

It's Sunday

cicely mary barker
Seek the Shepherd.

Friday, June 10, 2016

When He Returns...

...I pray He will find me listening with all diligence, watching with an expectant hope, and waiting with an untroubled heart, not with doubts, worries, and fears, but with trust, joy, and peace.  

I Am They - Resting Place (To The Cross) [Official Lyric Video]

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Yes, He Does

Jeremiah 29:11 New English Translation (NET Bible)

11 For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Mother's Hope

I'm still thoroughly enjoying the young man, who doesn't want to be blogged about, while he is home from college.  I love listening to his hopes and dreams for the future as well as his present joys and concerns.  I know his plans will take him far from home, but I still have hope, a mother's hope that he will return often and even bring grandchildren.  I'll borrow from that hymn: grace has brought him safe thus far and grace will bring him home.  

Sara Groves & son - 'Wonderful World'

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Way Was and Yet Is

1 Timothy 4:12 English Standard Version (ESV)
12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

Romans 12:2 English 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]

This week I have been reminded of the Jesus Movement of my 70's youth.  While I was not converted during that movement, I was, like much of my generation, influenced by it, especially during my Christian college years.  My first roommate, arrived in my dorm, fresh from a summer spent on a Christian commune.  Her bare feet peeked out from the hem of her long granny dresses. She was a vegetarian who preferred natural foods.  At night, she eschewed the comforts of a dorm bed and slept on a pallet  on our floor.  I'm not sure that I can remember her ever wearing shoes that year, except for the Thanksgiving that I spent at her parents' home.  It seemed to be everything my home was not.  Her parents were educated and prosperous, refined and cultured.  Classical music played as we ate at a beautifully set table.  After dinner, instead of football, her younger siblings entertained us by playing their recorders.  Yes, I was homesick, and I had to wonder what they thought of their daughter. Was her lifestyle a phase she'd outgrow?   
In college I was introduced to a Christianity that required social justice, guitar music, non violence, and love.  I hope now that we are old enough for all our dresses to be granny dresses, we are maturing not only in body but also our faith and love of Jesus.  He is still the Way.
The Audrey Assad video of an old hymn, "Be Thou My Vision," reminded me of our younger selves, and my barefoot roommate. 

Audrey Assad — Be Thou My Vision Official Music Video

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Verse and A Song...

...for a flare day with rheumatoid arthritis.  For the sake of the rose, I will embrace the thorns.  I do believe.  Yes, I believe.

Third Day and Brandon Heath - Creed

Bebo Norman - God Of My Everything

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

No Longer Orphans

No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. John 14:18

How often do we live like we are orphaned by Jesus, or at least think that way?

I myself am not someone who "feels" the presence of God, or at least I don't think so. I have wondered what it would be like to not be a believer, how does he/she "feel"? The contrast may be telling. Maybe they have an emptiness that I have been spared. Maybe it isn't what I have that matters as much as the loss I have avoided. If the unbelieving world indeed feels it is alone, then we should tell them there is an alternative -- The presence of God via the Holy Spirit, and not feeling alone.
beanscot's husband

Tennessee Ernie Ford - Just A Closer Walk With Thee (Live)