Archives

A Song in the Night

“….‘Where is God my Maker who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than he teaches the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?’” Job 35:10, 11

Clouded moon

Christ’s death and resurrection is particularly dear to me this year, as our earthly celebration follows mere days after my sister-in-law passed away. Over the past four years, some of my posts documented Rebecca’s battle with cancer and requests for your prayers.  You shared in her victories and disappointments. Now she is gone–and it’s as difficult to write that as to believe it.

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” 

I Corinthians 15:56, 57

Becky wrote a song the night before she had a very difficult back surgery to remedy months of excruciating pain caused by an unforgiving tumor.  The song was put to music by the worship team at her church and played at her memorial service last week.  I may have a word or two wrong since I transcribed this from a shaky recording, but it deserves to be shared:

Becky’s Song in the Night

Jesus you are the bright and morning star

Illuminate our hearts and guide us where you are

Help us dear Lord in the shining light you send

Oh morning star, we love you, and we long for You

Jesus morning star, our lives in you made new

Jesus morning star, our lives in you made new!

~~

Chorus:

Praise the bright and Morning star

Praise his holy name

Praise the Master and the Saviour,

You won’t be the same

Praise Him, Morning star!

Praise Him, The bright and Morning star!

~~

Now as you rise in heavens glory, morning star

Help our hearts to rise up on your wings

Help us know the ways you made us free,

And let us see your beauty and your majesty!

~~

Praise the bright and Morning star

Praise his holy name

Praise the Master and the Saviour,

You won’t be the same

Praise Him, Morning star!

Praise Him, The bright and Morning star!

How amazing, that her song in the night focused entirely on her Morning Star!  Becky’s eyes were fixed on Jesus!

As we remember our Lord’s Passion, his suffering, pain and grief, may our songs in the night melt into praise in the morning, as we see Him, risen with power and glory, paving the way of Hope for our eternal future!

~~

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.   According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

And so we will be with the Lord forever.

I Thess. 4:13-17 

~

Creation Speaks

Creation Speaks

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  Romans 1:20

Happy Hummer

Dear young man, who admires me with wonder
Who loves the streams and hills,
I, creation, know our sculptor
Who lifts me from this sodden earth
and carries me from flower to fleur.

My handiwork is fully His
Made for your delight;
to admire, photograph,
or stand in awe,
to pause and merely sigh.

Fearfully and wonderfully made

Yet, I creation, pale to you,
birthed, eternal soul
You, with searching heart and mind
Gentle spirit, good and kind
You, for whom He died.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1

I, creation, certainly wonder
Why man rages ‘til day is done
But more, I grieve and groan and long
To speak through my unspoken song
Of our Creator’s love..

…the engraved signature of the artist’s Son.

Engraved Love

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes on Him will not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Poem, Linda Owen

Photos:  Hummingbird, Elaine Corneau

                Hands, Google Images

                All others, John Owen

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. 

Easter better than Christmas??

Is it not strange, the darkest hour
That ever dawned on sinful earth,
Should touch the heart with softer power,
For comfort, than an angel’s mirth?
 That to the Cross the mourner’s eye should turn,
Sooner that where the stars of Bethlehem burn?

John Keble, Good Friday

As much as I LOVE Christmas, this season of Jesus’ death and resurrection brings me even greater tidings of comfort and joy!   Jesus birth was a glorious and beautiful foretaste of what He actually Finished at Calvary and the surprising dawn of His Resurrection.  And though there’s nothing quite like the all-cozy-inside feeling I have when I hear Christmas carols, the hymns and praise of Easter ring out assurances of Hope, Love, and eternal Life!

~~

I serve a Risen Saviour! Christ the Lord is risen today!! Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!!  Because He lives I can face tomorrow!  He’s Alive! He’s Alive!  Arise, My Soul, Arise!!

~~

I shared the last song, by Charles Wesley, under a different post, melody and musicians.  Today’s rendition is compliments of Sovereign Grace Music (where you can purchase their newest CD for only $5)!   The tune is new, soulful, and brilliant!  But the classic words and message remind us that we are ever inscribed on Christ’s hands and forever accepted in the Beloved!

~~

Arise, my Soul, Arise

by Charles Wesley

Arise, my soul, arise
Shake off your guilty fears
The bleeding sacrifice
On my behalf appears
Before the throne my surety stands
Before the throne my surety stands
My name is written on His hands
~~
He ever lives above
For me to intercede
His all redeeming love
His precious blood to plead
His blood atoned for every race
His blood atoned for every race
And sprinkles now the throne of grace
~~
CHORUS
~~
O my soul, arise
Behold the risen Christ
Your Great High Priest
Your spotless sacrifice
O my soul, arise
God owns you as His child
Shake off your guilty fears
My soul, arise
~~
Five bleeding wounds He bears
Received on Calvary
They pour effectual prayers
They strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry
“Don’t let that ransomed sinner die!”
~~
My God is reconciled
His pard’ning voice I hear
He owns me as His child
I can no longer fear
With confidence I now draw nigh
With confidence I now draw nigh
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.
~~
from From Age to Age, released 10 April 2012 .Verses by Charles Wesley (1742), music and additional words by Eric McAllister © 2012 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)
~~
And
 If you want to read another beautiful Easter poem, check Beth Stone’s blog for an amazing Love poem by C.S. Lewis.  It is simply, profoundly…beautiful.

Love’s as warm as tears,  Love  is tears….

What special song or poem speaks to you about Christ’s love, Easter, and His Resurrection?

Irish and More!

“I would not be a citizen where Jesus was an alien.”  Spurgeon

This Irish, Swedish, English, Welch of a person, is first, and by God’s grace, a citizen of heaven! So today, though I love celebrating my distant, yet beloved Irish roots, I long more to celebrate my heritage and inheritance in Christ!

“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”   Hebrews 11:16

This poem and long-time hymn, is often, yet questionably, attributed to St. Patrick, the adored 5th century English missionary to Ireland.  Though its author may be contested, this abbreviated version of “St Patrick’s Breastplate” expresses how I want to wake up today, St Patrick’s Day, and everyday of my life:

I arise today
Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
 
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
 
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

“For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.”
Hebrews 13:14

On gratefulness…

“Happiness is not getting what we want, but being grateful for what we have.” 

This quote from a random British TV show we were watching one evening really stuck with me.  We always seem to want more, without being grateful for what we already have.  Millions have been spent in research to find out what the “perfect” monthly wage is that would make everyone happy.  The answer across the board:

More.

So, happiness is elusive.  But gratitude is not.

In fact, gratitude is God’s will!  Are you fasting, praying, desperately searching to know God’s will for you life?  How about this:

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.   I Thess. 5:16-18

Giving Thanks Together

The following poem from The Valley of Vision expresses a heart full of gratitude and one after God’s will:
~~~

O My Lord

You, fairest, greatest, first of all object,

My heart admires, adores, loves you,

For my little vessel is as full as it can be,

And I would pour out all that fullness before you in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with you

Ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,

Ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,

Ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart.

Crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless You for the soul you have created,

for adorning it, sanctifying it,

though it is fixed in barren soil;

for the body you have given me,

for preserving its strength and vigour,

for providing senses to enjoy delights,

for the ease and freedom of my limbs,

for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;

for your royal bounty providing my daily support,

for a full table and overflowing cup

for appetite, taste, sweetness

for social joys of relatives and friends,

for ability to serve others,

for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,

for a mind to care for my fellow-men

for opportunities of spreading happiness around

for loved ones in the joys of heaven,

for my own expectation of seeing you clearly.

I love you above the powers of language to express, for what you are to your creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

Starting February off on a Good Note

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;   His mercies never come to an end;  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”        Lamentations 3:22, 23 (ESV)

I haven’t shared any new songs for awhile, so today offers as good a reason as any to post a new one.   The lyrics for Have Mercy on Me are below, and the graceful melody is in the Music Box.  If you like the song, there are a lot more on the album, The Gathering, available at Amazon or Sovereign Grace Music (I get no absolutely no profit from them 🙂 )  Blessings!!

Have Mercy on Me

I am a sinner; You’re blameless,

Lord My sins against You can’t be ignored

They will be punished, I know they must

Your law demands it, for You are just.

If You would count everything that I’ve done wrong

Who could stand? But there’s forgiveness with You, God!

~~

Chorus

Have mercy on me, have mercy on me

A broken and a contrite heart You won’t turn away

Have mercy on me, have mercy on me

Because of Your steadfast love.

~~

Father of mercy, You gave Your Son

To make atonement for wrongs I have done

What You required,  Jesus fulfilled

I don’t deserve it—I never will! *

~~

We love and worship you today, Dear Father, for the new mercies you have in store for us, today, this month, this year.  Each morning we awake to a loving Father who desires good for us.  Each evening we can sleep well, knowing you never sleep, keeping a watchful eye over your children.   Through such comfort, I hope and pray that we can trust you more. Why do we draw away, why do we not run to you?  Help us to lean on you with absolute trust and reliance.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

~~

from The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11.  Music and words by Pat Sczebel and Dale Bischof © 2011 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Enlarge My Life

“How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it.”  G.K. Chesterton,  Orthodoxy

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”  John 3:30 

The Season is picking up speed, rushing forward with frenzy and tension; we’re being constantly reminded of gifts we forgot to buy or people we forgot to write; we’re facing difficulties, sorrow or grief in stark contradiction to festivities around us; the checkbook is empty; good intentions fall flat.  Our failing self seems to loom larger, while meaningful life grows smaller.

I’m not sure how you handle any of this, but the Lord keeps calling me to quiet my soul, trust His care, and turn my focus back to Him.  But since that all sounds a bit abstract, I’ve come up with a few concrete ways for Him to increase, and me to decrease:

1.  Rest and recall:

Os Guiness wrote in Long Journey Home,

The decisive part of our seeking is not our human ascent to God, but His descent to us.  Without God’s descent, there is no human ascent.

We keep trying and trying to ascend to some performance mark.  That mark is different for each of us–it could range anywhere from how soon we finish the gift shopping, to how well we put on a smile in the midst of deep, deep pain or grief.  But it’s not about making the mark, performing, ascending. This Season, and everyday of the year, is ALL about the Love the Father demonstrated to us, while we were yet clueless (my words).  He Gave entirely.  We receive, entirely.  He did Everything.  We can do nothing.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.  2 Corinthians 8:9

2.  Worship:

What other season of the year do stores and public venues inadvertently pipe songs of worship and praise to the Newborn King?  [Though, they’re becoming less prevalent due to the growing secularization of Christmas.]

Listen to the words.  Fill your car, home, cubical, iPod, or kitchen with songs of angels.  Join shepherds and kings, rich and poor, old and young, in the magnificent Wonder of all that is Christmas!  What joy we miss if we fail to truly hear and rejoice aloud that A Child is Born, God and Sinner are Reconciled,  the Desire of Nations has come, God with man is now residing, Born that man no more may die, Glories stream from heaven afar, King of Kings salvation brings, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn! 

If you lack music in your world, you can find some in my Music Box, which has a broad mix of Christmas and other worship songs.  Both iTunes and Amazon have loads of Christian music artists who praise our Lord with new songs and old!  Try out Folk Angel, Keith and Kristyn Getty, and David Crowder Band, for some new takes on the old faithfuls.

3.  Give, give, give:

     Give praise to the Lord,

                           give yourself,

                                                give to the poor!

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Psalm 29:2

Worship is a gift to the Lord Jesus, whose Birth we celebrate, whose advent, we require.

Give.  We can give kindness, gentleness, goodness, compassion, and understanding.  A smile, a tear, a note of thanks, a hug.  A prayer.

Something surreal and unexplainable happens in our heart and soul, the grief and sorrow fade just a bit, whenever we give our time, attention, or God-given blessings to someone with less   May the Lord open our eyes to our “neighbor,” the lonely, unloved, the poor, near or far, or anyone He brings our way.

And we can give easily, anonymously, and practically to those who suffer most–the hungry, oppressed, needy, abused or persecuted.  A little of our “mortal wealth” can bring great gladness and joy!

Here are a few ‘giving’ websites which help enlarge my life, while making my selfish self a bit smaller:

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/

http://www.compassion.com/

http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/xxwv2ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?lpos=sponsor-a-child_top_img_gift_catalog&go=gift&&section=10389

http://www.christianfreedom.org/

http://freesetglobal.com/usa/home-USA.html

[And a big thanks to Beth Stone who shared the last two suggestions on her website!  Thank you Beth!]

~~~~~~

Dear Lord and Father, Thank you for all your blessings, great and small.  Help me to decrease, and You to increase in my little “kingdom of one.”  Enlarge my life, to see beyond me, beyond the present, to people who need you here and now, and forever.   Above all, help me not to be ashamed of Jesus Christ, who is the Hope of this Season and every day, the only way, truth, and life. Proclaim Him through my life, worship and giving.  In His eternal name, Amen.

~~~~~~

Grace

Grace finds beauty in everything

Happy Birthday to our wonderful youngest daughter, Grace Victoria!

Bono’s song, Grace, touches my heart on so many precious and personal levels.

First it speaks of “a girl”, not just a girl, but our lovely daughter, Grace Victoria, who turns 30 today!!

It defines her, as she “finds goodness and beauty in everything” even as Oncological Nurse, who sees pain and disappointment on a daily basis.

It addresses the very reason we gave her that name–because, God knew we were in desperate need of His Grace to ‘change our world.’

And ultimately, His Grace is what, or rather, WHO, “takes the blame…covers the shame, removes the stain.”  That Grace is Jesus.  Jesus is Grace, unmerited favour, an undeserved gift, full of unconditional love,  Who “makes beauty out of ugly things.”

Like us.

Thank you, Jesus, for Your Grace, God’s Grace, and our Grace Victoria!

~~~

Grace, she takes the blame

She covers the shame

Removes the stain

It could be her name

~~~

Grace, it’s a name for a girl

It’s also a thought that changed the world

And when she walks on the street

You can hear the strings

Grace finds goodness in everything

~~~

Grace, she’s got the walk

Not on a ramp or on chalk

She’s got the time to talk

She travels outside of karma, karma

She travels outside of karma

~~~

When she goes to work

You can hear the strings

Grace finds beauty in everything

~~~

Grace, she carries a world on her hips

No champagne flute for her lips

No twirls or skips between her fingertips

She carries a pearl in perfect condition

What once was hurt, what once was friction

What left a mark no longer stains

Because Grace makes beauty out of ugly things

~~~

Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace finds goodness in everything.

 

If you care to listen to this lovely song, just click away on the Music Box.  The MP3 may be purchased Here

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).