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Your Presence, Like Rain

Oh my…the rain is refreshing after the intense heat lately.  The grass seems greener, bird’s songs are sweeter, and the air carries a cool comfort that I forgot I even missed.

Refreshed

But sweeter than the rain to my soul, is the very Presence of the Lord.  Through Him, my dry heart is softened, my mind cleared, and my voice can carry songs and encouragement not present within myself to utter.

I’ve posted a song today, that might bring a little refreshement, like rain, to your thirsty soul.  It has to mine.  Holy Spirit is a deeply worshipful song, by Bryan and Katie Torwalt.  I can’t promise rain wherever you live, but I can promise, that if you quiet your heart, shut your eyes for just five mintues, and listen to this song, the Lord will minister comfort to you…with His Presence.

~~~~~~

Holy Spirit

by Bryan & Katie Torwalt

There is nothing worth more
That will ever come close
Nothing can compare
You’re our Living Hope

Your Presence

I’ve tasted and I’ve seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone

Your presence Lord

Holy Spirit
You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by
Your presence Lord

Your presence Lord

There is nothing worth more
That will ever come close
You are our Living Hope
Your presence Lord
I’ve tasted and I’ve seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart is set free
And my shame is undone

Holy Spirit
You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by
Your presence Lord

Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Lord

Holy Spirit
You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by
Your presence Lord

~~~~~

This song is available for download at Amazon Music, Itunes, and Jesus Culture. 

Scales of Suffering?

Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
Psalm 30:1

Do you think God won’t help you find your keys because it’s not a big enough concern?  There are more important things to Him, such as feeding the poor, defeating the Taliban, hovering over cancer wards, or preparing the world for Jesus’ return, right?  So why would He bother to help find those keys?

Or maybe, when a migraine, cold, fever, or a yucky flu bug brings you down,  do you silently doubt that God will answer your prayer for healing, because, after all, “it’s not cancer”?

If so, welcome to my world!

I constantly gauge my needs, pain, or “suffering” by other’s.  In fact, I even had a hard time writing the word “suffering” because I don’t really think I know what it is—in comparison to rest of the world.  If you’re like me, you may be encouraged by reading this article, No More Minimizing Pain, by Ed Welch of Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF):

“There is no suffering gauge in Scripture, as if being burned at the stake scores a 100, Stage IV cancer is an 85, a broken friendship is a 50 and uncomfortable shoes are a 5.  If there were such a system, a person whose suffering topped out at 80 would have to defer to the one who measures 81.   The one with the less severe suffering would have to suffer in silence. He or she would have no right to seek the comfort of others or God.  To do so would be hogging time that could be better used by more qualified sufferers.  
Dr. Ed Welch, CCEF

I wish I had written this!  But I couldn’t, because I live in the comparison world of meters, gauges, and deference.  I question if my suffering is even on the charts!! Maybe a .003 on the scale of world-wide problems.  Those lost keys, forget about them.  And no hope for my headache as long as a thousands of parents are visiting their children in Pediatric Cancer wards.  But, Dr. Welch goes on to say,

“The danger in establishing a pecking order within suffering is that you feel authorized to call out to the Lord when things are really bad, but you remain isolated and silent if your pain is below the national average.”

So the biggest fault, or sin, of minimizing pain and suffering is that it keeps us from calling on the Lord. And, for me, this attitude creates a dangerously false god, who doesn’t want me to bother Him unless it’s really Bad…somewhere between 75-100.

What a dreadful trap to fall into, even though it appears rather noble.  It reveals my lack of understanding of God’s love and unbounded mercy.

“..when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.”
2 Corinthians 10:12

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The entire article may be found HERE.   Thank you, Dr. Welch!

The Cross – – Herein is Love

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5,6

From Horatius Bonar, The Cross of the Lord Jesus:

Thus we see in the cross an epitome of the Bible. The whole revelation of God is there. From the cross we “Where sin abounded, grace has superabounded.”  All the love of God is there. The sinner’s condemnation and the sinner’s pardon are there. God’s invitation issues forth from it to the chief of sinners. “Come”; “Look unto me and be ye saved.”

God’s eternal purpose is here unfolded: “the good pleasure of His will.” The fountain opened for sin is there. The rest for the weary is there. The relief for the conscience is here. The refuge for the guilty is there. The balm of Gilead is there. Peace to the troubled is there. There God meets with man, and man meets with God; heaven and earth embrace each other.

HEREIN IS LOVE. It is love that takes in the worst; love that took in the dying thief; love that knows no bounds; love that looks for no qualifications in him who comes, but that he needs it; love which is yearning over the lost, and stretching out its hands to the most rebellious and unholy; love which offers not merely pardon, but the perfection of the Son of God to the sinner, with all which that perfection can claim.

And for more on this love, read C.S Lewis’ gripping poem at Beth Stone Studio (Love’s as warm as tears).

Love exiles fear

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”  I John 4:18 (NLT)

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” Psalm 139:17

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  I Peter 5:7

Perfect Love casts out all Fear!  That’s is the WHOLE reason we don’t need to fear! And a good word for us on Fearless Friday!   As we direct our minds towards His love, our fears will blur. One version of the Bible says, our fears will be Banished!!

What does expelling or banishing fear really mean?  Here’s a few choice words:

deport, discard, dismiss, dispel, drive away, eject, eliminate, eradicate, evict, exclude, exile, extradite, get rid of, isolate, oust, outlaw, remove, rusticate, sequester, shake off, shut out

So perfect love exiles, eliminates, gets rid of…all fear. These words suggest a near-annihilation of something, placing it beyond reach or grasp.  We’re often unwilling to release the strangle-hold we have on our fears, because we still doubt His love.   So, perhaps this excerpt from Spurgeon will give a glimpse into God’s perfect love..for us:

God is always thinking upon us, never turns aside His mind from us, has us always before His eyes…

His thoughts area always tender, loving , wise  prudent, far-reaching and they bring to us countless benefits.

In all our wonderings, the watchful glance of the Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon us–we never roam beyond the Shepherd’s eye.  In our sorrows He observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes Him; in our toils He marks all our weariness, and writes in His book all the struggles of His faithful ones.

The thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths, and penetrate the innermost region of our being.  Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel, of our bodily organization is uncared for; all the littles of our little world are thought upon by the great God.

~~~

I really enjoy finding songs that amplify our discussion, and today, this one by Annie Herring and Matthew Ward speak perfectly of perfect love:

Apple of His Eye
Glimpses CD

He’s the one who loves you more than you will ever know
He’s the one who dries the tears you cry.
He has formed your very soul and knows your every need
He will guide you through your darkest night.

Chorus

For you still carry inside you His light that never dies
And you are always before him
The apple of His eye.

He’s the one who holds you close when no one will come near
The one who sees what no one else can see.
He’s the one who keeps your burden light enough to bear
For He will be your strength when you are weak.

Nothing in this world could ever keep His love from you
And He gave His life to see this promise through.

He’s the one who loves you more  than you will ever know
And He has counted every tear you’ve cried.
He will take your tear-stained heart and make it light as snow
And He’ll become your wings so you can fly.

For you still carry inside you His light that never dies
And you are always before Him,
The apple of His eye!

~~~

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!  I John 3:1

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. I John 4:10

~~~

Dear Father, Help us to focus on your Love today, not our Fear. Help us to release the grasp we have on our fears, worries, cares and anxieties.  Exile, banish our fears far from us, by filling our minds and hearts with the knowledge and awareness of your perfect love…love that hung on a cross in our place.  Love that knows us better than we know ourselves.  Thank you!  In Love’s Name, Jesus, Amen.

~~~

[Note:  I regret that I can’t upload an audio version of this beautiful Annie Herring song presently.]

Out of the Fog

In the Fog

In the Fog

Spurgeon thoughts for Fearless Friday:
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“It is exceedingly beneficial to our souls to mount above this present evil world to something nobler and better. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are apt to choke everything good within us, and we grow fretful, desponding, perhaps proud and carnal…
~
May the Spirit of God assist us to leave the mists of fear and the fevers of anxiety, and all the ills which gather in this valley of earth, and to ascend the mountains of anticipated joy and blessedness. May God the Holy Spirit cut the cords that keep us here below, and assist us to mount!
~
We sit too often like chained eagles fastened to the rock, only that, unlike the eagle, we begin to love our chain, and would, perhaps, if it came really to the test, be loath to have it snapped. May God now grant us grace…like Abraham, to attain the top of the mountain, there to indulge in communion with the Most High.”
~~~
Dear Lord, please lift us out of the fog of our fears, cares, and all the things that choke out the Light of your presence. The fog is sickly, dark, hindering and oppressive. We pray, grant us grace and lift us up to your mountain, so we can breath and see unhindered, our Lord and Saviour Jesus. Then, ‘the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” In His name, Amen.

Above the Fog

Above the Fog

This is My Father’s House

You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.    Psalm 91:5, 6

I scoured the list of verses on fear today, for a very needful, personal touch.  Because, in all actuality, I write for me.  And if anyone else benefits by it, then God truly receives the glory, and the fruit is His.

My fear-battle this week:  What began in our little house as a roof repair, is quickly morphing into a “project.”  A project with lots of hidden, unforeseen costs and damages lying, literally, within the walls of our house.   Talk about “destruction that lays waste at noon!”  And the further we get into it, the more we find!  So, as I stared blankly at my Bible and my computer, the Lord spoke through my husband.   He said, ‘I’ve had this song on my heart all morning, and I think the Lord wants to remind us of something.’  The song:

This is My Father’s World

He elaborated.  This world is His, we are merely pilgrims.  Therefore, this humble house that we call home is His, not ours.  Even with all its damage and flaws.  And more importantly, we are His, with all our imperfections, weaknesses, and hidden flaws.   Everything is His. 

So, now I’m encouraged! I want to write so much about this.  About the Lord building the house.   About Nehemiah and the Lord’s faithfulness and protection as the walls of Jerusalem were restored.  About Him working in our spiritual “houses” both to will and do of His good pleasure.  And about our life, a building, a work in progress by the Lord.  But as this Fearless Friday comes to a close, I’m just going to share the words of the song that the Lord gave my husband–to encourage myself, and perhaps, you.

This is My Father’s World

This is my Father’s world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres. 
This is my Father’s world: 
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker’s praise. 
This is my Father’s world: 
he shines in all that’s fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. 
O let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet. 
This is my Father’s world: 
why should my heart be sad? 
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! 
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

 

Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him. I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.  He will call upon Me, and I will answer him.  I will be with him in trouble;  I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him, and let him see My salvation.    Psalm 91: 14-16

~~~

Dear Lord, We surrender our ‘houses’ to you–our bodies, our dwellings, and, most importantly, our very lives.  Take our burdens and fears.  You can handle it.  You own the cattle.  You hold all things together.  This is your world.  It’s not perfect.  But You are.  And let us look with great hope to the day when we will dwell with You forever, in the perfect house You’ve prepared just for us.   Because of Jesus, Amen! 

~~~

A beautiful rendition of this song by 2nd Chapter of Acts, from their Hymns II CD, is uploaded in the Music Box!  Enjoy!

 

 

Sweeten Every Fear

“From my distress I called upon the Lord.  The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.  The Lord is for me: I will not fear; What can man do to me?”  Psalm 118:5, 6

Fearless Friday.  And what did I awake to?  Fear!  No surprise.  But the more important question is, where do I go with that fear?

David went to the Lord:

From my distress….I called upon the Lord.

What does the Lord do?

He answered me and set me in a large place.

I understand “answered me”, but what is this ‘large place?’ 

According to Biblical scholars (ie, those who can read Hebrew), a large place is actually a clearing, a bright spot that has been freed of foes, holes and corners (where we go with our fears) and all manner of enemies.  Like a clearing in the woods, the Lord brings us to a place where we can breathe, get a fresh perspective on our surroundings and be warmed by the sun!

“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”  Psalm 18:5

So in the midst of our distressing thoughts, we can be assured that the Lord answers us, and will set us in a clearing, where we can get His perspective, rather than being muddled or weighed down.  And, then He reminds us–again and again, because we’re so forgetful–that He delights in us and He is FOR us.  I’ve posted on this before, but it bears repeating:

“The Lord is for me: I will not fear.”

We need the reminder.  And that’s what God’s Word is for (and Fearless Fridays :-)).  When we’re in distress, anxious, fearful, or any number of synonyms that describe that pit we feel in our stomachs, we must turn to God’s Word. 

And we need to pray, taking our fears directly to God.  We’re not supposed to hide them or pretend they don’t exist.  David shows us how to pray in the Psalms, where he constantly and honestly shares with the Lord his sins, weaknesses, fears and doubts.

Another example of honesty in prayer is found in Valley of Vision, a Collection of Puritan Prayers.   This is my prayer today and, perhaps, could be yours: 

 

Sovereign Commander of the universe,
I am sadly harassed by doubts, fears, unbelief, in a felt spiritual darkness,
My heart is full of evil surmisings and disquietude,
        and I cannot act faith at all.
My heavenly Pilot has disappeared,
        and I have lost my hold on the Rock of Ages.
I sink in deep mire beneath storms and waves,
        in horror and distress unutterable.
Help me, O Lord,
        to throw myself absolutely and wholly on you,
        for better, for worse, without comfort, and all but hopeless.
Give me peace of soul, confidence, enlargement of mind,
        morning joy that comes after night heaviness;
Water my soul richly with divine blessings;
Grant that I may welcome your humbling in private, so that I might enjoy you in public;
Give me a mountain top as high as the valley is low.
Your grace can melt the worst sinner, and I am as vile as he;
Yet you have made me a monument of mercy,
         a trophy of redeeming power;
In my distress, let me not forget this.

All-wise God,
Your never-failing providence orders every event,
        sweetens every fear,
        reveals evil’s presence lurking in seeming good,
        brings really good out of seeming evil,
        makes unsatisfactory what I set my heart upon,
        to show me what a short-sighted creature I am,
        and to teach me to live by faith upon your blessed self.
Out of my sorrow and night, give me the name Naphtali,
        “satisfied with favour,”
        help me to love you as your child,
                and to walk worthy of my heavenly pedigree.

 

Through God’s Word and prayer, may you find that He hears, answers, delivers, and is for You!  Knowing this can “sweeten every fear” and bring you out of darkness, into His clearing and marvelous, comforting Light!

And please come back every Friday when we seek God’s Word to remind us that we are to Fear Not!

~~~