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One day late..

…on my Titus2sday post for the week! 

For a few weeks, I’m going to delve into something very touchy for us as women. Or at least, for this woman!

Control.  Or…

Before delving into a discussion, I thought the following verses might help lay some groundwork: 

 “The Lord is the stronghold of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1

“..your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”  Genesis 3:16

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.”  Psalm 51:4

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”  Matt. 6:10

I know these seem like a mish-mash collection of verses, but I’m hopeful we can tie them together in a life-changing way that will bring glory to the Lord!  Yes, I’m optimistic! 

And perhaps, you could ask yourself these questions: 

What do these verses mean to you?

Where do you tend to look for security?

How does my kingdom tend to get in the way of God’s kingdom?

 

Some parting encouragement for the week:  This struggle to live for the Lord and not ourselves is not waged with our own feeble weapons.  We are SO weak.  We feel so alone in this battle.  But God’s Word comforts us  over and over again that He is with Us.  He is praying for us.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  His grace is greater.  His grace is enough…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness!”  2 Corinthians 12:9

~~~

It’s my deepest desire and prayer that these verses and questions will bring all of us to a greater and utter reliance on our relationship with the Lord, and away from our perceived strength, stamina, and control.  Looking forward to going deeper with you in His Word, next week!  Blessings!

For me and for you

  Today, I just want to offer a little comfort through song, for anyone feeling all alone, like no one is on your side, and everything in life seems stacked up against you.  Follow along with the lyrics and song in the Music Box, from worship leader Kari Jobe.   And come back tomorrow, because I’ll share some Scriptures that serve as a reminder that God is for YOU!

 

 

 

You are For Me
Kari Jobe

So faithful, so constant and so true
So powerful in all You do
You fill me, You see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to You

I know that You are for me, I know that You are for me
I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness
And I know that You have come now even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are

So patient, so gracious, so merciful and true
So wonderful in all You do
You fill me, You see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to You

Lord, I know that You are for me, I know that You are for me
I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness
And I know that You have come now even if to write upon my heart
To remind me

Lord, I know that You are for me, I know that You are for me
I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness
And I know that You have come now even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are
To remind me

I know that You are for me, I know that You are for me
I know that You will never forsake me in my weakness
And I know that You have come now even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen!!

 

I’ve chosen God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen for my Christmas Song and Gift to you!!  Listen to a great version by Mercy Me in the Music Box!

The words of this song are a bit lost in translation for the 21st century.  “Rest” and “Merry” just don’t mean the same thing as they did in the 15th century when it was written.  So, this is not a song about some Merry Gentlemen being commanded to get some rest  🙂 

The phrase, rest you merry loosely means “May God Keep You Merry!”  Additionally, rest, is derived from the Latin meaning, to stand firm, and merry often meant ‘mighty’ (like Robin Hood’s “merry” men). So the song is actually exhorting people to know and proclaim God’s ability to help us Stand Firm and be Mighty for the Lord!   As it says in Romans 16:25:

Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time.  (TLB)

 
May you be merry, mighty, assured, and standing firm, knowing that Jesus was born to be your Saviour!   

  

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen 

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

 In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

“Fear not then,” said the Angel,
“Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan’s power and might.”
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy!

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!

Christmas Carols–Grace Notes

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining,’til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.”  O Holy Night

To me, Christmas Carols are the best part of the Christmas season.  I talked about it last year, HERE.  Many of the older Christmas songs are simply, yet profoundly, the truth of God’s Word set to music.  They serve as ‘notes’ or reminders, of God’s grace and goodwill toward all mankind, clothed in gentle and lovely music, to share the truth of Jesus Christ in times and places where preaching would never be received. 

So, until the New Year, I will post Christmas carols, some known, some not, to keep us me focused on the One whom angels sing, wise men seek, and shepherds kneel to worship.   One that brings me to my knees almost immediately is “O Holy Night,” written in 1847 by Placide Cappeau, a poet/wine merchant of Roquemaure, France.    [Learn some interesting historical background about this hymn HERE.]

O HOLY NIGHT!

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angels’ voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

 

 

Sing, worship, listen, and let the Lord minister His compassionate grace to you today.  And you may enjoy Third Day’s contemporary version from their Christmas Offerings CD, just uploaded in the Music Box to the right. [Fyi, if you dig a little deeper into the Box, you’ll find another version by Mercy Me uploaded last year.]

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

Unfading Grace

“To everything there is a season and a purpose to everything under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

“While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”  Genesis 8:22

I find comfort in the seasons the Lord has established for us.  At least for now.  I suppose, being in the autumn of my life, I’m not going to relish the onset of  winter.  But as with every day, every season requires trust.  Is God as faithful in the autumn as He was in the summer?  And will He be faithful when the winter comes?  I know it.  But as seasons change, that’s when I really learn it.  

Spurgeon assures us that God’s grace is present in every season:

Sickness may befall, but the Lord will give grace; poverty may happen to us, but grace will surely be afforded; death must come, but grace will light a candle in the darkest hour. How blessed it is as years roll around, and the leaves begin again to fall, to enjoy such an unfading promise as this, “The Lord will give grace.”

He continues:

He gives grace abundantly, seasonably, constantly, readily, sovereignly.

Grace in all its forms He freely renders to His people: comforting, preserving, sanctifying, directing, instructing, assisting grace. He generously pours into their souls without ceasing, and He always will do so, whatever may occur…

I can’t stop the seasons, anymore than I can keep the leaves from changing colours, the frost chilling the night, or the grass fading.   But I can trust in the Lord who is ever faithful.  His grace is unfading!

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  I Corinthians 1:9

I just placed a new song in the Blue Music Box which speaks to me of God’s faithfulness through the seasons.   In the song, “Show Me”, young songwriter and singer, Audrey Assad [1], recounts of the Lord, in His mercy, guiding her through the seasons.  Here’s one portion I particularly like:

“So let me go like a leaf upon the water
Let me brave the wild currents flowing to the sea
And I will disappear into a deeper beauty
But for now just stay with me
God, for now just stay with.”  [1]
 

 

[1]  Audrey Assad, The House You’re Building.  Released, Jul 13, 2010.  ℗ 2010 Sparrow Records.

Story of a Song

“For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods!” Psalm 97:9

I EXALT THEE!

Every song has a story, even thousands of stories.  The obvious story is what’s being said through the lyrics.  Then there’s what the writer felt but, perhaps, never verbalized through the words of the song.  And then, there’s a story for each and every listener of the song–the pain or joy they equate with it, or where they first heard it, what they were doing, who they were with, etc. 

We have a story for “I Exalt Thee” which, as Spurgeon says, ‘shows that the goodness of God has been the same to us as the saints of old.”

Flashback:  1977.  Okinawa, Japan.  I was pregnant with our first daughter (Joy).  In the decades before  Amazon.com, UPS, FedEx and other express-mailing days, it was so exciting to get packages overseas.  Every month we ordered a record album through an old-school Columbia House membership.  When Pete Sanchez’s album arrived, it didn’t take long to realize what a treasure we had received!!  All the songs were so worshipful!  John loved them so much that he made a cassette copy for us to use at a home Bible Study that we attended.   Sitting in the small living room of our friends’ military apartment, our feeble voices joined with Sanchez’s to exalt the Lord above all other gods!

Flash a bit forward:  1989-1994.  A time when we were far away from the Lord.  During that time, we’d occasionally find ourselves in church with family, or *accidentally* listening to Christian radio, and “I Exalt Thee” would be sung or played.  I would weep, realizing how far away we were from that humble worship time in Okinawa–how far our hearts were from exalting our Lord above all gods.  How far we had fallen. 

Present:  The video above—singing” I Exalt Thee” with His church and precious believers in Ottawa.   After sixteen long years of God’s wounding and healing, tearing down and building up, rescuing, restoring, and reconciliation, we sang as if we were back in Okinawa.  That could only be the Lord’s doing.

And that is our story of “I Exalt Thee.”  That God is faithful.  He sees beginning to end.  In 1977, when we poured our hearts to Him in worship, He knew there’d be days ahead when we would fall away for a time, just as He knew Peter would deny Him three times.  And what did Jesus say?

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus didn’t let go.  Jesus didn’t quit on us when we quit on Him.  That’s our story–His faithfulness!

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

 

PS.  You can read more about our church service on Saturday nites at  SaulGood  and Andy’s blog, HERE.

God of this City – The Church

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Matthew 5:14

God is God of the Church.  I’ve written earlier, here, about how much the Lord love His bride, His church, His city on this earth.   But the Lord’s love is not blind.  He sees our humanity, arrogance, love of the world and lack of brotherly love.  And then…He sees Jesus.  He sees His church washed in the blood of the Lamb, clothed in white garments..redeemed.  He cherishes the church and like a happy, anxious groom, is breathless with anticipation to see His bride walk down the aisle towards Him.

Is this the church we see?  Or, like the world, are our eyes so clouded by all the faults and glaring flaws, that our relationship with Jesus is hindered?  

God is still God of this City, the Church.  With all her present problems, the Lord still knows what He is doing.  He is completing a work which began before time, a work of great diligence, requiring perfect patience and grace. 

When you look at your own local church, ask the Lord for new eyes, to see as He sees. To see through eyes of patient grace.  And love.  Ask to see what Jesus saw, when He became sin for us, so that we, the Church, might become the righteousness of God.

He is still God of this City.

“For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City.”

Below are a few links of things the Lord is doing in our local church/city.  Let us pray for our local churches, that they will be cities on a hill, and His light in the surrounding darkness.  And, now and then, may the Lord grant us a glimpse of that glorious wedding day to come as we worship Him!   I can’t wait!!

http://andyfalleur.typepad.com/go_for_a_coffee/2010/09/satur.html

http://jonjuane.blogspot.com/2010/09/my-church-is-growing.html 

http://saulgood.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/jericho-road/

 

God of This City – Our City

 “Someday you will live forever in a fully restored house [city], but right now you are called to live with peace, joy, and productivity in a place damaged by sin.  Emmanuel lives here with us, and He is at work returning his house to its former beauty.”
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House

 

As part of  my “God of This City” series, I want to share a little slideshow compiled from John’s photos of our current city, Ottawa, set to Tomlin’s song, God of This City.  This isn’t a ‘tourist’ video made to highlight key sites of this beautiful city (tho scenic pics are included), but rather, a glimpse of what the Lord sees everyday…people who need Jesus!

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”  I John 3:16

 

 

I encourage you today, to pray for your geographical city–wherever God has placed you.  Pray for your government leaders, law-makers, judges, police officers and other civil servants, for your school teachers, pastors, co-workers, employers, employees, along with your neighbors, friends……and your precious family. 

My Hope

“My Hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

Hope is….to cherish a desire with anticipation.  That defines My Hope…Jesus.

“Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life!”  Titus 3:7

In memory of Todd’s recent passing from death to eternal life, I needed a reminder of  hope and encouragement, since I find myself on this side of eternity, seeing a bit darkly, and walking, sometimes hobbling, by faith.

C. H. Spurgeon writes:

‘The voice of weeping shall be no more heard.’  (Isaiah 65:19)   The glorified weep no more, for all outward causes of grief are gone.  There are no broken friendships, or blighted prospects in heaven.  Poverty, famine, peril, persecution and slander are unknown there.  No pain distresses, no thought of death or bereavement saddens.

  They weep no more, for they are perfectly sanctified.  They are without fault before His throne and are fully conformed to His image.  Well may they cease to mourn who have ceased to sin. 

They weep no more, because all fear of change is past.  They know that they are eternally secure.  Sin is shut out, and they are shut in. They live in a city that will never be stormed..bask in a sun that will never set…drink from a river that will never run dry…and pick fruit from a tree that will never wither.

They weep no more because every desire is fulfilled.  They cannot wish for anything that they do not already have in their possession.  Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire, will, and all the faculties are completely satisfied.

The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them…and that same joyful rest remains for us.  It may not be far distant.  ‘Wherefore, comfort one another with these words!’ (I Thess. 4:18) 

John Newton wrote this hymn about a loved one’s death:

In vain, my fancy strives to paint
The moment after death,
The glories that surround the saint,
Then yielding up his breath.

One gentle sigh the fetter breaks:
We scarce can say,”They’re gone!”
Before the willing spirit takes
Her mansion near the throne.

Faith strives, but all its efforts fail,
To trace her in the flight;
No eye can pierce within the veil
Which hides that world of light.

Thus much (and this is all) we know,
They are completely blest:
Have done with sin, and care, and woe,
And with their Saviour rest!

Before our Lord, they praise His name,
His face they always view;
Then let us followers be of them,
That we may praise Him too.

 

This is an encouraging quote from Bunyan’s Pilgrim:

There also you shall serve Him continually with praise, shouting, and thanksgiving, Him whom you desired to serve in the world, though with much difficulty, because of the infirmity of your flesh. There your eyes shall be delighted with seeing, and your ears with hearing the pleasant voice of the mighty One.

 

And from Jesus:

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.”  John 11:25

“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hell.” Revelation 1:17, 18 

“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”  Revelation 22:17

 

What is your Hope?