Tag Archive | hope

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 

~

Kodak Moments

To me remains nor place, nor time;
My country is in every clime;
I can be calm and free from care
On any shore, since God is there.

After  settling back into our non-routine routine life, I finally found made some time to compile a little photo log of our journey over the past several weeks; or, one might call it, “really great excuses as to why I haven’t been blogging.”  I think my husband’s seven-year old Kodak 612Z camera still does a pretty good job capturing and highlighting our days.

After Easter, we moved out of our cute little spot in Ottawa.

Then we stayed on the “other” side of the Ottawa River a while with friends:

with dear friend, Elaine!

and moved our “schtuff” into their basement…

Guess I got a little too comfortable in their basement!

Then, it was time to say “See you later” (not goodbye), to some friends…

With Mitch at the Coffee House (JRCM)

Dave speaking at Jericho Road Coffee House

Kim’s surprise party was a success!! ♪ Happy 50th Birthday dear Friend ♪ !!

Last day–Brunch with Mack, Ray, Gloria, JL, and Charlene (taking the pic)

As we headed out of town, some colourful tulips peaking through the snow caught our eye.

At Dow’s Lake, these early blooms held up well to the late snow

Delicate, but tough

Then we drove south, and south, and east a bit…to enjoy an extended stay in Virginia Beach for my mom’s 80th birthday celebration, shared with our daughters and grandkids!  These are just a few pics of all that were taken from our blessed time together:

With my beautiful mom. Willa

With my mom, Hope (& her baby-to-be), and Gracey!

Joy, my mom, Grace with Eva, and moi

All smiles with Gracey and Joy (and her baby-to-be)

Sisters with child(ren)

Say Cheese!! Grace, Joy, Steve, and Eva!

Cousins get reacquainted

Protected and Protector

On stage at the Kid’s Place

Eva is a star too!!

Busch Gardens with Hope, Jon and Andrew

Joy and Eva are not persuaded that the ponies are entirely safe at the Petting Zoo 🙂

John Deere meets John and Jon!

Wrapping up a morning at the Petting Zoo

Time for piggies in the sand!

The whole world’s a Beach for Poppop and Jonathan

Eva’s beach time with Pop-Pop

A few minutes of relaxin’ for lovely Nurse Grace

All done….

After spending time with our blessings, it was time to meet the road again.

highway to the hills

As Bilbo sang in The Hobbit,

Roads go ever ever on,

Over rock and under tree,

By caves where never sun has shone,

By streams that never find the sea;

Over snow by winter sown,

And through the merry flowers of June,

Over grass and over stone,

And under mountains in the moon.

So we return, for a bit, to our hollow in the hills, giving praise to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and seeking Him for whatever lies ahead.

Your decrees have been the theme of my songs wherever I have lived. Psalm 119:5

While place we seek, or place we shun,
The soul finds happiness in none;
But with a God to guide our way,
“tis equal joy to go or stay.

Jeanne Marie Guyon, 1722

What have you been up to lately?

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?

On breaks, no condemnation, Christmas, and Folk Angels

Hello! Remember me?

I’ve been away from blogging waaay too long (over 4 months!) and I’m not even sure how to do this anymore!   I’ve been away so long, that I actually considered quitting blogging all together–after all, who’s NOT blogging these days, so are my two cents really necessary?  And if I keep blogging, where do I start? Should I explain myself, my absence, my life, or just hit the proverbial deck running?  And then, what about all the things I’ve been musing on, mulling over, journalling, or events that have either broken my heart with cries, tears and grief, or encouraged me to die more to self and live more for Him?

Seriously, if I consider any of these options right now, I’d rather close my laptop and procrastinate a few more months. Instead, I really need to ease back into this, so I’m going to focus on all the wonder, hope, and Joy of Christmas!  Everything else can wait…

~~~

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.

  (Romans 8:1-3)

~~~
Romans 8 may seem like an unlikely Christmas passage, but it’s a perfect reminder about “the reason for the Season;”  God sent His own Son into the world as a sin offering for us!  Such a proclamation required angles upon angels to sing of the Wonder!  Oh, Holy Night!

The artists who’ve recorded this carol is nearly innumerable, but the ones I love hearing are a bit more limited–John Denver, Clay Aiken, Josh Groban, to mention a few.  And now, Folk Angel!  Yes, let me introduce you to Folk Angel, a band who has already released three Christmas CDs.  This is from their website:

Our desire as a band is to make known the greatness of Jesus Christ and to exalt Him through the music that we create. We write and rearrange traditional Christmas songs, and through that creative process we retell the Gospel story that illuminates all things.

Their music fulfills their mission!  Click on the album cover to view or purchase their music.  And you can listen to “O Holy Night” in the Music Box above.

~~~~~~~~

O Holy Night

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining

It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

~~

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!

O night divine, O night when Christ was born!

O night, O holy 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 came the wise men from Orient land.

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,

In all our trials born to be our friend!

~~

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!

O night divine, O night when Christ was born!

O night, O holy night, O night divine!

~~

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!

~~

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!

O night divine, O night when Christ was born!

O night, O holy night, O night divine!

~~

… Oh yes, and I promise I won’t be away for another 4 months…

Perfectly Weak

“For my strength is made perfect in weakness…”  2 Corinthians 12:9

[Travels, transitions, family times, grandparenting, border crossings, and more…my excuse for a big, bad case of blogger’s block.  But I can’t wait to share of God’s grace through all this…in between our routine days, like Titus 2sday!]

Last time we ‘met’ for Titus2sday, we were discussing sin, control and being out of control{!}  This sense of being out of control, whether in marriage, parenting, emotions, family matters, health, the work place, finances, or  ___ [fill in the blank], generally makes us feel pretty weak. Or perhaps, like me, perfectly weak!

But this awareness of our weakness brings us to a better place than perceived strength or control ever could—to pure reliance on Him.

These excerpts from Spurgeon (my fave) encourage us in our utter and perfect weakness:

Are you mourning over your own weakness?  Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you a victory.

Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust in; therefore, he is compelled to cast himself on God alone.

There is no moment of our lives, however holy, in which we can do without His constant upholding.

~~~

I am SO weak.  I come to the Lord with empty hands…therefore…

“…I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me!”
2 Corinthians 12:9

~~~

Dear Lord,  We are all so weak.  We rejoice in the day when our faith will be sight, and we shall be like him, for we shall see him as He is! (I John 3:2) But until then, our weakness weighs us down, it interferes with our relationships and daily lives.  We need you, Lord, we need Your strength to be made perfect in our weakness..whatever that looks like.  Help us let go of the controls, and trust in the power of Christ that dwells in us.  In His Strong Name, Amen.

Trust Your Shepherd

“Fear not, little flock… 

…for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32

 

So much of our fear comes from trying to figure things out.  We look at the checkbook and try to figure out how to turn the red to black, how to make more time in the day for our family, or desperately wonder, based on world events, if we’re in the last days.  And the more we try to fill in the blanks of our agenda and faith, the more we find unbelief creeping in, replacing trust with doubting questions, rest with anxiety, and love with fear.

We question our journey and with the disciples, say “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going, and how can we know the way!?”

Shouldn’t the Lord fill us in?  He knows the way.  Won’t He enlighten us…a little?

Instead He says, compassionately, “Fear not.” 

Why?

~~Because He’s given us His enduring Kingdom.  “I give to you eternal life, and you shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck you out of my hand.  My Father, who gave you me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck you out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).

~~Because, He is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).   HE is our journey and our life.  We can trust Him fully.

This assurance is driven home in a brief post by Jon Bloom at Desiring God.  I recommend reading the entire post, but here’s a comforting excerpt:

Frequently, Jesus doesn’t share our urgency for us to know exactly what he’s doing or where he’s leading us. His reasons for withholding that information are always good. His will for us is our sanctification.  And what that usually means is some form of “believe in…me.”

Jesus is your Good Shepherd. A benefit of being a sheep is that you don’t need to know the way.

You just need to trust your Shepherd.

 ~~~

Dear Lord, Help me to trust you more.  My doubts and fears grieve you.  Each day I have to learn to trust you all over again.  I give my questions back to you, for you alone know all things.  You are my shepherd, and I lack nothing.  Truly, ‘your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.’ I do believe, Lord.  Help my unbelief, in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

~~~

To complement today’s post, I just uploaded  “I Will Follow” by Chris Tomlin, in the Music Box.  Please join us every Fearless Friday, as we learn from God’s Word how to grow in God’s perfect love.

Don’t Fear Their Fear

How do we face the news in this world around us?  What do we feel or think when we wake up to news like today’s, that an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in the western Pacific region just caused death, destruction and devastation in Japan, and tsunami warnings have been issued all along the Pacific Rim? [1]

Even before we get out of bed, we awake to a battlefield of fear and anxiety, whether real or imagined.  Do we just ignore those fears?  Jesus says to face them…His way:

“In the world you will have tribulation.”

but

“Take heart; I have overcome the world.”

He didn’t mince words and say everything was going to be rosy or carefree, but He said, He has overcome the world–He is the ultimate triumph, beyond any fear or dread we face.  We can get so wrapped up in all the issues swirling around us, but God calls His people to think differently than others (Isaiah 8:12, 13):  

“You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’  in regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.’

When the Lord tells us not to fear, He always gives the reason why:

It is the LORD of Hosts whom you should regard as holy.  And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread.  Then He shall become a sanctuary..”

Jesus has overcome the world.   When we believe in Him and fully surrender to Him as our sovereign and merciful Lord, He becomes a place of rest and peace for us–a sanctuary.  Isaiah describes a sanctuary as: 

“…a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection (a hiding place) from the storm and the rain.”  Isaiah 4:6

Jesus is our Hiding Place. 

“For in the day of trouble, He will conceal me in His shelter, in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.”  Psalm 27:5

We have a shelter, a hiding place, in our loving Saviour whom the world does not seek.  We don’t have to fear their fear.  Jesus is with us.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

~~~

Dear Lord, You know that as soon as we awake, our minds take us to fearful places.  Some of these places are real, and many more, imagined.  We submit our thoughts and fears to you today, and trust in You.  Lift us above their fears–the ones shouted from the media and all around–and be a barrier, a hiding place, where we can enter into Your rest.  Our hope is in You.  And after you comfort us, help us to take this Hope to others whose hearts are failing them for fear.  We know and are known by the Lord who has overcome the world!  In His wonderful name, Amen.

~~~

“…Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, with gentleness and respect.   I Peter 3:14, 15

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There are so many encouraging Scriptures to explore regarding the peace we can have in Jesus as we journey through this troubled world.  Please come back every Friday to learn more!

 

[1] And please pray for Japan, and all the lives affected by this awful event!