There is a friend, (again, and again, to comfort – and then…)

Our Father in heaven knows what we need. And there are times, when God knows that what we need is… a friend.

Some of my ‘friends’ I have never met, but they encourage me every day. One of them is Oswald Chambers. He wrote the infamous book entitled, “My Utmost for His Highest.”

Many times the words that God prompted him to write, were like the words of a best friend to help keep me on track. For instance, August 11, he writes,
“When you come to your wits’ end and feel inclined to panic – don’t!”
What great words from a friend!
But this  wisdom came a little late.  I have a friend or two that have seen me do just that – panic!

How beautiful of my Father in heaven to give me friends who will love me still, even after moments of panic. Moments when I forget that God was on the throne and Sovereign over all. When I forget that He cares for me in an intimate way and is looking out for me. Moments when I forget that He has a plan, and a ‘plan for good and not evil’ (Jer. 29:11) for me.

The shadows of fear are always right there hiding in those closets in our minds!There is temptation to ‘panic’. We then miss our step and fall into  in a pit of despair, carrying about great heaviness…like Romans 6:7:24,
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
But my friend, (Oswald Chambers!) whom I have never met, encourages:
“Stand true to God and He will bring out His truth in a way that will make your life an expression of worship.” (August 11, My Utmost for His Highest.)

Our Father in heaven knows what His children need. He does care and He is there, and He gives us brothers and sisters ‘in Him’. He knows that we need a friend to help ‘sharpen our iron’ when it gets dull. He knows we need a friend to help guide our feet back to ‘paths of righteousness’.
He knows that we need a friend sometimes, that we simply bow our heads with and seek Him, and Him only,  because He is the only One who can be our help in our seemingly impossible situations.

That is why we can give thanks to God, no matter what is going on – because He gives us friends to help and pray and walk this journey with  – and sometimes at great distances away -but God simply knits hearts together.
Maybe God gave us these special bonds of friendship to help us ‘see’ how close our Immanuel really is to us. He is our Immanuel. He is our ‘God with us’, always.

I had a friend remind me, “He loves you, me, everyone. He answers prayer – yesterday, everyday. We just need to call out to HIM and He will always be there, always!” Now that is a good friend. One that always points to God, no matter what happens. You see, this particular friend, he needed healing. Cancer had invaded his body. But his response about healing? “I’m healed already!” He called out to God,continually, and trusted God even in the cold darkness of sickness. Even when he could hold on no longer, God had a hold on him, “I am with you always.”

God’s word tells us,(Proverbs 18:24), “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
We have a Friend, Jesus, who hears us when we call. He answers with strength an courage:
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?…It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. ” Romans 8:31,34.

That is why my friend could answer with strength and courage.
Jesus, our Friend that sticks even closer than a brother, He is sitting at the right hand of God and He is praying for us, even now! “We just need to call out to HIM and He will always be there, always.”

Can anything separate us from the love of God? Nothing, not even death. Nothing in life, no angels nor principalities, no powers can even separate us from the love of God. Nothing is ‘able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:39).

Thanking God today for ‘friends. Friends that we don’t know,but speak truth. Thanking God for friends that are always pointing to Jesus: “He loves you, me, everyone.” And perhaps some of these most special friends went on to be with the Lord, but I believe they are praying for us…

that our lives might  be an expression of worship, and in turn, we might be a friend…

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written by a teenager…

I thank Him that He was willing to wear a crown of thorns that I might one day wear a golden one…

See God's Hand

A young 16 year old penned these words, “My Jesus I love Thee; I know Thou art mine. For Thee all the follies of sin I resign. My gracious Redeemer, My Savior art Thou. If ever I loved Thee, My Jesus, ’tis now.” Yes, these are words to a hymn written in 1864, but would you guess, that God would touch a 16 year old in such a way to write those words?

For me, I’m not a youth anymore, and ‘grace has taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved!,yes, ‘through many dangers,toils and snares I have already gone’; so, for me, and perhaps for you, you feel you could pen those exact words written so long ago,
“My Jesus I love Thee; I know Thou art mine…” Thank you William Ralph Featherston for writing that age old hymn.

But today, the Lord keeps bringing to my…

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the Umbrella is held so I can dance in the rain!

I had a friend who was stricken with paralysis from the neck down, not just for a day, or a week or even a month, but 5 and3/4 years. Jenny could not do anything, but what she did do she did with excellence. Jenny taught me so much in that she ‘believed and trusted and waited’ for God. I write this as I remember my friend who was a most incredible witness of courage and patience and grace to me, then – and still today. Jenny forever lives in my heart…and as we had opportunity to study the Song of Solomon together we both discovered her very name, Jenny, means ‘Fair one’…

This world,  with its mountains and clouds and rough seas and torrents, they come to invade  and surround. This world, this world -with sunny skies welcomed, but then, the rains fall with no sign of stopping. Life can press down, oppress down, and makes the feet burdened, when the heart has no song, and it’s tempted to stop hoping.

Hoping in God is what we must always keep doing.  “Increase my faith!” Is the prayer I must cry! God holds the Umbrella, His Spirit  to me, that I may choose to finally step out of the comforts of despair, and take the first steps to dance even if its still raining. There’s no time for moping, one must always keep hoping. He holds out a promise to cover and protect, but sometimes I choose to reject it as I remain sitting in a big mess – with my head down and my eyes on the puddles, He bids me to ‘look up’ and see the hand of His Son, the Prince He has sent, whose eyes are on me (?), OH How can that be?

‘Come to Me,” He calls me even  by name. He waits and longs that I choose to dance in the rain – to cast off the pain, to lay down the shame, to lift up my eyes to the One who paid the price of my ticket, my debt in full.  He took my whole punishment upon His own flesh, so that I might begin (once again), and have…this everlasting dance with Him! He forgives all the past and makes all things new, He pulls me out of the the rough and the thicket, that I may learn what life is a-fresh! He holds out His hand that I may finally stand and put my eyes upon Him and gain the strength that is needed. He provides me new garments, off with the old, torn and dirty! He clothes me, renews me, forgives me and then, He smiles as I take hold of His righteous right hand, with the Umbrella shielding us from the  cold and the rain, we take our first steps to dance in the rain!

The storm may be raging, the clouds remain dark,  but the Umbrella is held that I might rise to my feet. As I look up to Him, the One reaching for my hand, my mind thinking on things higher than this earthly sand.  The Comfort is present, the Help I find, as I stand in my weakness and discover new strength, to nuzzle myself between the ‘Rock of all Ages’  to ‘think on these things’ and read of His pages. A song begins to sing in my heart again, as I fancy to dance with the Prince whose been given.

A father  grants permission to the young man delighted, to escort his daughter to the altar,  and my Father in heaven, has provided for me, a Prince, to escort me, and walk with me and lead me today, even amid the rough places and the color-less grey. He called me by name, He didn’t give up.  He asked that I might step out of the darkness and stand, even amidst the hurt, and all of the pain, to take His hand. That I might even ‘feel’ His touch and His healing, yesterday and forever,  His hand is held out, that I might accept it whole-hearted, to join the One who loves me to dance in the rain.

And with each step I’m taking, I’m growing in my own understanding just how my Prince truly loves…me. He loved me first, He gave His life for my sin, how can that be? His thoughts are so high – He is fairer than the sons of men, so much fairer is He. He is a Rock, a fortress, a buckler, ’tis true-but He’s also the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley, He’s the sunset and sunrise, He’s the sparkle in the spring, He’s lovely, He’s ever-present, and He sings over me!

How my Prince loves me! It is said in His word: “Like a lily among thorns, So is my love among the daughters.” I am His ‘lily’, and He sees the thorns -how they  hurt and tear and cause my heart to bleed, but My love  He knows,  oh yes, He knows all about thorns, when they were pressed so harshly on His brow, He knows a broken heart, He knows, He sees, and He’s there – He waited for me…

“The voice of my beloved! Behold He comes leaping upon the mountains. Skipping upon the hills.” He skips and leaps but even the hills overwhelm me. ‘My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away…” His voice melts my fear. But He loved me even when I slept on my bed and didn’t make the choice to turn my head:

” My Beloved came to His garden, and He knocked on the door in the night, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is covered with dew…”but I was tired and just wanted sleep, so from my bed I didn’t move…  But when I came to my senses and opened the door, He was nowhere to be seen. He was far out of sight!

So I went searching and asking all around, “Have you seen the one I love?” And it was then, in my search that I found the One…It is written in the Song of all Songs, the words of this pen. In my search I discovered His love never changes. His canopy of love, is there – it surrounds me.  His banner over me… He sings: “Behold, you are fair my love! Behold you are fair! You have dove’s eyes behind your veil…””You are fair my love, and there is no spot in you… You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; you have ravished my heart… “A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.” Oh, how I’ve discovered when I lift up my eyes, I see no more puddles, just grace and love.

I’m protected and given life everlasting, and so, I bow my head in the midst of the dance, giving thanks to My Father who is in heaven. I’m thankful my Prince never gave up on me. I’m thankful the Umbrella is held out daily. That I might see clearly my Prince who loves me. He reaches out His hand, that I might look up in His eyes, and respond to His love and surrender to Him: “Let my beloved come to his garden and eat of its  fruits.” I am nothing alone, I know that now, so I empty myself that I might be filled to the full. Filled with His love this time around, filled with His fruit that love may abound!

May I receive and respond and dance with great joy, even if the skies are dark and with storm, and may my words tell of the One I love: “Yes, He is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters, O daughters of Jerusalem!” This is my story, this is my song:“I am my beloved’s. And my beloved is mine.” “Set me as a seal upon Your heart.” These may be words from the Song of all Songs, yet today they’re all mine – He’s given me a new start. A new start each day, His mercies are new every morning: “He has brought me to His banqueting house, And His banner over me is love”. I love my Jesus, maybe now you see why. I tell you the story, of the Umbrella in the rain, because I want you to know of the Prince who is waiting. He is waiting for you to take His hand as I do, yesterday, and today and for all life never-ending, He has brought me to His banqueting house, and His love is never fails. Today, I share my Prince with you. He loves you the same, yes He does! It is true!

(Song of Solomon 2:1,2. Song of Solomon 2:4.Song of Solomon 2:10.)

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This is my prayer, this is my poem…

Today, today… a pray. This is my ‘everyday’ prayer!

See God's Hand

Holy Father of heaven and earth, draw us Your children near. We busy ourselves and move so fast – that at times we don’t lend You our ear.
So, our feet get on moving, moving ever so fast and just like the Pilgrim in the old Classic story, we ever so slightly go off the path.
But God, we had no idea that we’d run into ‘Giant Despair’! Yet, in the seemingly hopeless situation- You are still there.
Immanuel, You are called; God with us, we are told, and reminded each year as the carols ring old.
Christmas has come, and Christmas has gone and there is no denying Your gentle touch of grace – my heart is stirred and encouraged that there is no mountain too high or valley too low that You Lord won’t help us to face.

So, in this new year, my heavenly Father, may I…

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‘He makes me lie down’…to hear Him whisper, “Surrender all, surrender all…”

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I sahll not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures…”(Ps. 23:1,2). “He makes me,” make me think that I did not volunteer to lie down, even though they were green pastures that He had led me to!

“He makes me…”( Ps. 23:2), makes me think of some kind of struggle going on, much like trying to get a toddler to take some medicine when sick…whatever the case, “He makes me…” does not necessarily sound like ‘fun!’

And then I think, “who is He?” And I remember, He is my Good Shepherd.The One that knows what is best for me, the One that has said, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11.)And then I remember,from reading the book of John something I never forgot, about how God works and what He desires,  that ‘this is the work of God, that you believe…’ (John 6 somewhere!). Am I really believing? Am I believing Him? Am I really giving Him the place to be my Shepherd or am I listening to the thinking of the times: “You deserve a break today”, or “Have it your way”, or “I’m entitled to more.” or “I have my rights!” …Oh, what a struggle. The reality? We are in a war! I am in a war, (daily!)

God is speaking to my heart, “Toni, lay down your rights,…surrender it all to Me. That is what I have done, in surrendering to My Father. Can you pray as I did, ‘Not my will, but Yours be done’ concerning this situation?” Can you pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? (The Lord’s Prayer).

“He makes me to lie down…” (Psalm 23:2).

Can I really say with a whole heart of meaning and truth, the exhortation that I am given in God’s word: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…” (Gal 2:20). Can I really ‘die to myself and my independent thoughts and surrender to His hand to ‘make me lie down’ and trust and wait on Him in full surrender?

A ‘yielding’ needs to take place in my heart! The ‘yield’ sign is lit in my heart and I have been made to ‘lie down’ to consider my choices. The Holy Spirit is ever so busy ‘reminding’ me of ‘things that are true’. The Holy Spirit’s gentle and quiet voice speaks as I am ‘made to lie down’ and I hear… yes, I hear

So… ‘He makes me…’remember a hymn that I yearn to be true to but am so often just singing words. A hymn that I sing in ‘spirit’, but so many times – not ‘in truth’. And God, so desires ‘true worshipers who will worship Him in ‘spirit and truth. (John 4:23). He knows my struggle, but today, He is ‘making’ me to…”lie down” to lay down my rights, to give up my pride, to surrender…all:

“All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live./ I surrender all, I surrender all, All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender, Humbly at His feet I bow, Worldly pleasures all forsaken, Take me Jesus, take me now./ I surrender all, I surrender all. All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender, Make me Savior wholly Thine; Let me feel the Holy Spirit, Truly know that Thou art mine./ I surrender all, I surrender all. All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee. Fill me with Thy love and power; Let Thy blessings fall on me. / I surrender all. I surrender all. All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.”

Yes, It is ‘the Lord that is my Shepherd, I have everything that I need. ‘He makes me to lie down in green pastures’ (Ps. 23:1,2), because ‘He knows that the plans that He has for me are plans of peace and not of evil, to give me a hope and a future’.(Jer. 29:11).

And I can have faith in Him because ‘I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of me trusting in the Son of God’ (no matter what happens)’ knowing that He loves me and gave Himself for me’. (Gal.2:20).

And because ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me,’ I can take a breath and say today, “I surrender all, Jesus. Take me now, may I be wholly Thine. Let me feel Your Holy Spirit, truly know that Thou art mine! Fill me with Thy love and power, Lord I give myself to Thee…Let Your blessings fall on me.”

“And an amazing thing is happening Lord, as I surrender my will to Yours, I  find myself in pastures of green beside still waters not frantic storms! O God, thank you for ‘making me to lie down! I can now tell that I am held ever so lovely in Your great arms! “I surrender all!”

How I came to know the Lord…remembering the story.

Yesterday, I was able to go into the public school for the afterschool Bible Club, the Good News Club, (yes, in the public school)! Our theme yesterday was ,”I can KNOW God!” So, this got me thinking of my story of coming to ‘know God…’

See God's Hand

There was a day when I knew who God was, but I didn’t ‘know’ Him. And it was time to ‘know’ Him. I had no idea that He was watching over me, let alone singing over me, and waiting for me, with great ‘longsuffering’.

Sometimes, it’s just good to remember the story. For me, it’s like remembering my first special song.
I think back when I was in high school, and I was attracted to the ‘spiritual’ world. But I did not have much experience in ‘religion’, only a taste of it, not going to church per se, unles I went with a friend. It wasn’t until I moved away from my home in Phx, Arizona to NYC, did I really meet the Lord, and that’s after searching in a ‘spiritual world’ that was literally, ‘out on a limb’ without God! This search only led to healthy food and ‘self-realization…

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for a spirit of heaviness, God’s remedy…a garment of praise

(I wrote this a little less than a year ago, my words are absolutely nothing, but God’s word weaved in the post as I journey at times with a spirit of heaviness  are healing and LIFE!)

Perhaps the remedy is a ‘change of garments.’ The Bible teaches that there is a ‘garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness’.(Is. 61:3). Who feels a ‘heaviness of spirit?’ Do you? Even though you have a lot to be thankful for, you still have a heaviness that seems to be carried around.

We are ‘heavy in heart’, and we don’t even know why.Even in our own country, one of the most loved comedian-actors of this day, ended his life. How can that be? Could it just be this day that we live in? He probably had the best doctors you could find, but they didn’t have the ‘remedy’ to keep him whole.

I’ve been through cancer. I know people who listened ONLY to their doctors, and they are no longer with us. I know people who didn’t listen to anything the doctor said, and only did the alternative and they are battling the disease again; but I know those who are sick and listen to the doctors, and some perhaps go an alternate route,and that might help for a time, but still there will come an end. But there are some who also have a Great Physician as well, and they listen to Him completely, and, His remedy promises to heal the ‘whole’ of all that we are.
When I read the Psalms of David in the Bible, I see a man who would have easily been labeled ‘unstable’ on many an occasion.“Save me, O God; for the waters are come up to my neck – they threaten my life. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overwhelm me.” Psalm 69:1-2.Amplified.
I think the important part for us all to realize, is…
we all are ‘unstable’ because we are trying to live complete lives without the ‘Completer of Life!’.

But David, continues in his Psalm and gives us a glimpse of “I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; my eyes fail with (hopefully) waiting for my God.”(Psalm 69:3).

To be ‘whole’, is more than just the mind,( or our process of thinking, our will-power) and it’s more than just the body,(our physical mechanics), it involves our spirit as well. Some of us need the medication; there is a place for that at times, but that is not the ‘whole of the healing’, it is quite evident. There is a spirit in us all, and because we have packed away hurts, and dwell on doubts, and become overwhelmed and paralyzed by fear – it doesn’t matter what the doctor prescribes, his remedies are not the ‘cure all’!

But there is a Healer. But He doesn’t promise a ‘once and for all’ kind of healing. No. He says, “Follow Me.” His healing is more ‘liquid’, it flows from moment to moment; He is the breath which breathes in and out and brings Life, continuous and never ending. You see, He, the Healer, The Great Physician,He uses words – but they are more than words – they are power, they are supernatural, that are living and active and transforming. He tells us to ‘think on these things, His word, that is.

‘Take your vitamins, take your medicine if prescribed, but chew on this as you walk on; The Healer speaks:“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me; because the LORD has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, TO proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;..”(Is. 61:1). And there are more words, He also says:

“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”(Is. 61:3).

And we can watch David in his distress, cry out to God, “Rescue me out of the mire, and let me not sink; let me be delivered from those who hate me and from out of the deep waters. Let not the flood waters overflow and overwhelm me, neither let the deep swallow me up…” (Ps. 69:14). But we can witness ‘a change of garments’ even in his example. He puts on a ‘garment of praise’ and hope in God:

“But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord. At an acceptable and opportune time, O God, in the multitude of Your mercy and the abundance of Your loving-kindness hear me; and in the truth and faithfulness of Your salvation answer me.” (Psalm 69:13).”…I am poor and sorrowful, and in pain. Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”

Perhaps all of this ‘trouble’ has brought about an ‘acceptable’ time! And acceptable time to be ‘whole’ in seeking the Lord! God sees the multitude, and He knows all that’s going on inside. “And He opened up His mouth, and taught them, saying, “Blessed – happy, to be envied and spiritually prosperous [that is with life-joy and satisfaction with God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward condition]-are the poor in spirit, (the humble, rating themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! (Matthew 5:3).

God tells us that ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit!’

Could it be, that the ‘acceptable time’ for the Lord is now, but not just a ‘once and for all’ pill or ‘fix-it drug’. No, perhaps the acceptable time for healing is now, flowing like a river kind of healing, where in the process we see a transformation occur where our ‘mourning is comforted’ with an ‘oil of joy’, where we see the ashes changed to ‘beauty’, and we take off those old clothes of despair and fear and heaviness and we courageously accept,

in this acceptable time, to put on a ‘garment of praise’! “For the Lord hears the poor and needy, and despises not His prisoners [His miserable and wounded ones]. Let Heaven and earth praise Him…!” (Psalm 69: 33,34).

This doesn’t mean we have to go skipping singing a ‘happy song’ all the day, no, this simply means that being ‘poor in spirit’, we see our need for God, and we praise Him because He is so big, and we are not, and He loves us, even in our disfunction, our anxieties, and fright, and He begins a transforming work as we leave our ‘heavy garments’ at His feet, over and over again, and in turn choose to put on garments of praise, continuously. Not just a ‘putting on’, but a ‘keep putting on’, …kind of like a river, it just flows! “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above, ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen”Doxology

“What do I do? What do I do?” “

 

Elisha A Hoffman? A name perhaps known, perhaps not-

The story goes, as is written in Robert Morgan’s ‘Then Sings My Soul’ that one day Hoffman was calling on the destitute in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and “he met a woman whose depression seemed beyond cure. She opened her heart and poured on him her pent-up sorrows. Wringing her hands, she cried, “What shall I do? Oh, what shall I do?” Hoffman knew what she should do, for he had himself learned the deeper lessons of God’s comfort. He said to the woman, “You cannot do better than to take all your sorrows to Jesus. You must tell Jesus.”
It is said that the woman then replied, “Yes! that’s it! I must tell Jesus.”

Thus, the birth of an old hymn. Elisha A Hoffman, a hymn writer wrote: “I must tell Jesus All of my trials, I cannot bear These burdens alone. In my distress He kindly will help me. He ever loves and cares for His own. I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear My burdens alone. I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.”

The song sings like a lullaby. One that you might sing when rocking a little one to sleep, or when just doing mundane chores when all alone… It makes me think like a child again when everything becomes complicated and chaotic and stressful: I must tell Jesus All of my troubles, He is a kind, Compassionate friend. If I but ask Him, He will deliver, Make of my troubles Quickly an end.”

Reading this old hymn helps me remember, I am a child of the Father in heaven, He’s sent His son for me. Maybe in the words, ‘make of my trials quickly to end’ the end is in seeking Jesus like never before! Not being satisfied with a distant and surface relationship anymore. Maybe the end of the trial, which might go on for a while, is in fellowship with the anointed One who knows me and cares, moment by moment, praying ‘without ceasing’, talking to Jesus, telling Him ALL: “O how the world to evil allures me. O how my heart Is tempted to sin. I must tell Jesus And He will help me, Over the world The victory win.

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear My burdens alone. I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.”

That I might run closer to the heals of my Shepherd!

“Lord, tune my heart! It becomes easily ‘out of tune’ by the trials of the day. Tune me to run to the ‘Name of the LORD’ who is my strong tower, the Shepherd of my soul, my Maker, my Friend that sticks even closer than a brother. You already know my trials, but You want me to tell them to You anyway. You want me to ‘be as a child’, and maybe that’s just not so bad. Peace floods in like a comfortable hug when I sing Hoffman’s words:

“I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear my burdens alone. I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus…Jesus can help me, Jesus can heal, Jesus can help me, Jesus alone!”

But, then I see my biggest problem. Do I believe Him ‘in this?’ Even ‘in this’, do I believe? Do I believe Jesus can hear me? Do I really believe that Jesus can heal me? Maybe the question is, “DO I BELIEVE Jesus, EVEN IN THIS?

Maybe what I really need to tell Jesus is “INCREASE my faith in… ‘Jesus alone!’

Elisha A Hoffman had some favorite verses, they were given in the story as well: (1Peter 5:6-7)”Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” This is what I’m to do! This is what I will do. One minute at a time,

‘I must tell Jesus’ my doubts, my fears, my angers through the years, ‘I must tell Jesus,’ Jesus can help me, Jesus ALONE!’ Thank you Elisha A Hoffman, I need the simplicity of these very words because You can see that ‘I cannot bear these burdens alone!’ ‘I must tell Jesus, Jesus can heal me, Jesus ALONE!’

“I have a prayer…”

“God, I have a prayer,  for the little ones and the old, that the children wake up surrounded, not by evil thoughts that are cold, but that the Spirit breathes on them a new ‘old’ song. God I have a prayer for the children of the world, red, brown, yellow, black and white, race, rank, and ages of every kind:  “Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick and lead the blind,…”

“God, I have a prayer, that the children hear Your voice, and no longer the lies that are so loud through the night. God, I have a prayer, that the children unaware, would begin to see that the things  that are REAL are really the things that are out of their sight.”  “God may the children with sight of a whole new kind begin to repeat: “More than all, in Thee I find!”

“God, I have a prayer, that the ol’ words in the Wesley hymn would be read and repeated :“Just and holy is Thy name; I am all unrighteousness. False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.” That children young and old would know, the words to the hymn, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul!”

As easy as ABC, yet harder than any Chemistry – there is no need for ‘outside clean-up’ jobs, the main event’s gotta happen INSIDE, where the heart of the child sees their own mess, and finally cries: “Just and holy is His name, and I am all unrighteousness.”

“ALL the children of the world must admit these words, “I am all unrighteousness!” But God, Oh God, may the children of the world see the color of Your face! May the children of the world see  that the Your color is… GRACE!”

” For ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ are Your very own words, dear Lord God, You, Yourself had said,  when You sat on the hill with the crowds all around. “The Kingdom of heaven is yours today, be poor in spirit and blessed you’ll be.” But not one man likes to hear that sound! ‘Poor in Spirit?’ that means ‘I have -need’!

“God, I have a prayer that the children can say, “Other refuge have I none; hangs my helpless soul on Thee. Leave, ah, leave me not alone; Still support and comfort me!” Dear Lord, that the children would sing, “All my trust on Thee is stayed; All my help from Thee I bring. Cover my defenseless head, With the shadow of Thy wing.”

” Yes, God, I have a prayer that the children of the world that You love so much would change their tune and sing a new song: “Jesus, lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly, While the nearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high! Hide me O my Savior hide, Till the storm of life is past. Safe into the haven guide. Oh, receive my soul at last!”

” But God I have a prayer,  that the children don’t sing this song as an escape, but they sing it as they place their lives in Your hand. In the hand of God to live today in this hard, cold world, on the rough and stormy seas, in Your stay, Lord God   and in Your way.” “That the children wold trust as they rest in Your hand, and sing and sing, “Jesus, lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly, while the rearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high!” “God I have a prayer, that the children of the world to YOU would direct their cry!”

“God, I have a prayer, that the children would admit all the sin that they have, and believe in Your Son and call out His name, “Thou, O Christ, art all I want; More than all, in Thee I find.” That revival would spread like a fire in the forest, the children would pray, “Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, Heal the sick and lead the blind. Just and Holy is Thy name, I am all unrighteousness. False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.” Yes, this is my prayer for me and for them!”

“Faith is believing in what is not seen, so God I have a prayer and its answer I believe! I pray that the children find the answer in YOU. I have a prayer, yes, I have a prayer! That the children of all colors and ages and rank, speak with one voice:“Plenteous grace with Thee is found, Grace to cover all my sin. Let the healing streams abound…” I pray for the children, the children of the world, that they would turn around and speak this new ‘old’ song, “Make and keep me pure within. Thou of life the Fountain art, Freely let me take of Thee. Spring Thou up within my heart; Rise to all eternity.”

May the children of the world soon sing, “Spring Thou up within my heart;” May revival around us speak louder than the lies, “Plenteous grace with Thee is found, Grace to cover all my sin… “Thou of life the Fountain art, Freely let me take of Thee. Spring Thou up within my heart; Rise to all eternity!”

I have a prayer dear Lord, ‘Let it be! Let it be! Amen and Amen, that all the children of the world would sing, “Thou, O Christ, art all I want; More than all, in Thee I find.” My prayer dear Lord is for the children, You see, I know You are working,…ever working in me!

20-20 vision…

 When praying for many who have suffered great loss, I can pray for them that they receive similar comfort from which I was given by God during a time of loss in my life – from a whirlwind of pain to Vision. Oh, but I needed help, (and do every day) – yes, the help of time and assistance to have any Vision at all:

Life happens…suddenly, everything in our own personal world stops but the ocean current of life,  just keeps on moving…  The splashing and the pushing of the continuing current of life almost feels like it adds bruising to the bruises. Pain is the surrounding theme.

There is no vision, only darkness. And the enemy seems to delight in awakening the past and the future, only to expose failure and fault and fear. Time seems an enemy, when in fact it is a best friend. Love begins to sing somehow, a voice of rescue deep inside speaks, “Be Thou my Vision, Lord of my heart. Not be all else to me save that Thou art. Thou my best thought by day or by night, waking or sleeping Thy presence my light…”

The words to a hymn, “Be Thou my Vision,” come to the rescue with the remedy in the first 4 words. Then some truth offers a hand as well: “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering (dimly burning) wick He will not quench till He brings justice and a just cause to victory.” (Matthew 12:20). And  with the added  support of His promise:

“…for He Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will]not, [I will] not, [I will not] in any degree leave you helpless,nor forsake nor let [you] down, [relax My hold on you]. –  Assuredly not!” (Hebrews 13:5b, Amplified). 

So time and help from the hymns and God’s word, I now had a prayer: “Be Thou my Vision”, (even though my heart was not whole yet, being broken in pieces), my eyes at least had some vision on the words: “…and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]…”( Hebrews 13:5). “No way Lord, I’m not even close,” was the voice of my heart, but God knew that. There is no hiding from God. He could see that I wasn’t ‘even close’  to being ‘content’ with loss that had occurred, ‘satisfied? definitely, not close, no, NOT yet!

Loss HURTS. There will be a remaining scar forever. There was no satisfaction in present circumstances…God knew it, and God knows it when it happens today, but there is  some ‘saving grace’: “Be Thou my wisdom, Thou my true word. I ever with Thee, and Thou with me Lord. Thou my Great Father, and I Thy true son. Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee, one.” So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, I will not be seized with alarm – I will not fear or dread or be terrified, What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6).

I don’t write in the past tense only, I write in the present as well…

Loss disrupts vision. The aid of the promises of God are the needed lenses. “When God says that He will be with His servants, He means this, “My wisdom shall be with them to guide them. My love shall be with them to cheer them. My Spirit shall be with them to sanctify them. My power shall be with them to defend them. My everlasting might shall be put forth on their behalf so that they may not fail or be discouraged.” (CH Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters).

“Be Thou my Battle-shield, Sword for my fight. Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight. Thou my soul’s shelter, Thou my high-tower, Raise Thou me heavenward, Thy power of my power!” “To have God with you is better than to have an army of ten thousand. A host of friends is not equal to that one name, Jehovah, for He is a host in Himself. When God is with you, He is not there asleep, negligent, or indifferent. He is there intensely sympathizing, bearing the trouble, helping and sustaining the sufferer.”

“And in good time, His good time, He will deliver you in triumph.” (CH Spurgeon, Beside Still waters, Heb. 13:5).

Searching for Vision, and finding it, of all places, God is amazing, so I never forget it, vision is found in John ’20:20!’ “So saying, He showed them His hands and His side. And when the disciples saw the Lord they were filled with joy (delight, exultation, ecstasy, rapture). (John 20:20, Amplified.)

When wounds are still open and raw, there is no outward emotion, but inside God is moving,… the stone is being rolled away.  His  scarred hands restore belief in a resurrected life after death. Yes, the scars are still there – there is nothing erased from the story, but ‘He shows us His hands and His side’! He knows. “For the Lord will not cast off forever. Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According tot he multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.” (Lamentations 3:31,32).

He knows His children live in this broken world. And even more than that, God came down and ‘became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14). He knows the thorns…they were pressed violently on His head, but He prayed for us, He prays for us still:

“Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are…(John 17:11), “But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves…”(John 17:13)… “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them…” (John 17:23)…”You have loved them…as You have loved Me.” (John 17:23).

Vision comes with the help of some aid. From darkness to some light,  when we think how much God loved His Son. He even spoke audibly in the clouds on occasion, “This is My Son, whom I love, hear Him! ” But He loved US as He LOVED HIS SON? How can that be? “For God so loved the world?” “He gave up His Son? How could that be?

The Light comes flooding into the brokenness and repairs it in miraculous ways! Vision, Vision of His love and the warmth of His glory seem to mend what once was bruised and ripped open.

 “Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise. Thou mine inheritance, now and always. Thou and Thou only – First in my heart. High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art! High king of heaven, my victory won! May I reach heaven’s joys, bright heaven’s sun. Heart of my own heart whatever befall – still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.” (Be Thou My Vision).

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,” (Hebrews 12:1), 

20:20 Vision, helps us see we’re not alone, we can see the witnesses that surround us, even though we can’t see them at all. And they help us to “… lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1)…

There is a Vision Center, unlike any other:  “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2).

Yes,  in John ’20:20′, Jesus showed the despairing and disbelieving disciples His hands and His side.  Today, I am praying that God’s hurting children will receive comfort through time and through the Holy Spirit.  That they will come through great loss with courage  –  because  they saw Jesus, and His nail pierced hands, as He revealed them to them, personally, intimately just as He did then! And the reaction will be just as the disciples so long ago, when they were “filled with joy (delight, exultation, ecstasy, and rapture)” even!

He did that for me, even showing me His hands. You may not believe, but I saw Jesus, I did. And, 20:20 Vision on Jesus, no matter what the loss, God restores and recovers the sight that was lost, with the aid of His word and a hymn and some thoughts. “O God, bring Your children through this great trial today, that they may share their comfort with the comfort that You gave. “Be Thou My Vision”, may that be the prayer that helps restore sight to God’s hurting children. And may they see His nail pierced hands comfort them, as only He can…to God be the glory! Forever and Amen!” “Heart of my own heart, Whatever befall…still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.”