Heart out of tune? Tune my heart Lord

Come Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace…”

It seems as if my heart goes out of tune easily when the wind blows a bit rough or the road is scattered with rocks. But especially when life brings waves that go crashing overhead, leaving me breathless and even weak and somewhat lifeless.

“Come Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace.”

Out of tune – exactly, is this place I find myself at times. But the words of the old hymn spoken aloud ring about in me a prayer:  “‘Come Thou fount, of every blessing,’ flood on me grace and increased faith!”

Out of tune, the strings of other voices cause confusion and disorder, but I hear You speak words I have read: Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat …” Luke 22 verse 31. 

“Jesus, God- tune my heart that I might again sing of Your grace.”

I have choice. Right now, yesterday and tomorrow. Perhaps at times I choose to squirm out of my Master’s Hand and give it a go in my own strength.

I have learned, that brings sorrow. So the suffering that I have is bringing me to a place to obey.

I choose right now, right here, to remain in the Master Player’s Hands. I choose to wait and trust and worship and praise, because

‘streams of mercy never ceasing’ are the ‘every blessing’  from Thou fount.

Come Thou fount of every blessing,  that’s it! Yes, exclamation point.

It’s at His communion table. Yes, the fount that covers me. ‘Come Thou fount of every blessing,’ that has washed away my sin. It is almost too good to be true to think that my Father in heaven sees me –

not agitated, because Jesus took all of that on the cross, not angry at the way things are going, because Jesus took all that on the cross, not impatient, not unkind, not selfish…

because this ‘fount of every blessing’ covers me, and the Father sees me righteous – all because of Him. Can my brain even comprehend this grace? This is grace and mercy are beyond human comprehension. My heart is tuned to sing Thy grace!

This brings about a ‘call for songs of loudest praise.’

(I will refrain from using an exclamation point.) But, each moment I become out of tune because the flow of the world is cynical and bitter and faithless and self propelled, I will be enabled to take my next step speaking words of this  old hymn:

“Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’ve come.”

At the Table, provided for me and for you,  I raise the ‘broken bread’ and think on how ‘Jesus sought me as a stranger wandering from the Throne of God,’

But as I chew on His provision, I rejoice that the hymn speaks my comfort and hope: ‘He to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood.’

He rescued me then, He’ll rescue me now. He’s increasing my faith that was weak and torn, by me speaking on a hymn and remembering Him. Will you join me in this right now?

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love …”

Oh God, how day after day, week after week, month by month, year by year, You watch Your children,  not enter the door of Your house, because it’s crooked and rough, because people are there, but at the Table, Your Table of Communion,

I’m forced to quiet my mind and hold on to the cup and face the never-changing love of Your sacrifice:

‘In that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly,’ (Romans 5:8).

Tune my heart Lord, to sing Thy grace.”

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it …” And Jesus You watch and see it. You see that I’m ‘Prone to leave the God I love.’ Jesus, will You ‘take my heart Lord …’

Will You ‘take and seal it’.

“Seal it for Thy throne above.”  

The words that are recorded for me and for you, today let us take hold of and believe, this is Jesus and His words for us:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” 

Tune my heart Lord, tune Your children’s hearts, young and old, and for some, very old,  that the strings of our voices would ring out loud and clear as Simon is recorded in Luke 22 as well: “And he,(Simon) said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.”

“Tune our hearts, dear Jesus. Today, we choose, to follow You because You have provided for us. Help us to trust.”

Do you join in my prayer? Let us say, “Amen, Let it Be!”

words from mom of 11: “I’m never having any kids!”

When an editor mentioned that they were looking for interesting stories of change, I thought, “Hmm, A young single always saying: “I’m never having kids,” and later became a mom of eleven.

Perhaps there’s a story that might ignite some curiosity.

It starts with my name Toni ‘stu’ Born. The middle name given to me by my mom when she was exasperated with my stubbornness, and the last name, very German, given to me by my dad, Ernst Edward Born.

Stubborn was my middle and last name. Head-strong, with more energy than 5 people could need in a day, and smart, (from my dad who had some amazing brains being a surgeon and an oncologist in his day.)

Setting off to school, being disillusioned with the University, next came an audition to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena,CA. In the middle of all that, I had an eating disorder, thinking always about food, or how to avoid it, or how to work off what had already been eaten.

Insanity, of which I touched on a bit in previous writing, in which no-one really knew, except my family. But God had a plan.

I asked to transfer for my second year of school at the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts, and the next thing I knew, was this 19 year old was moving to NYC! (I think an exclamation point is appropriate here.)

Mind you, I was now in the middle of ‘food utopia’.

But God, He had a plan.

He got me off the insanity roller-coaster  with His Word, as I, day by day thought about denying the indulgence of destroying myself, moment by moment with my thoughts, which turned into destructive actions.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34. (Hey, and this verse is  repeated three times, found also in Luke 9:23 and Matthew 16:24.) God knows we need to be chewing on this one, past, present, and future.

What does this have to do with wanting no children to having 11?” you might ask.

“Everything,” I say. Because, I began to live in such a way that I would talk to God, “Your will, not mine be done.” 

So, yes, I married.

O.K., I fast forwarded quite a bit for the sake of word numbers, but that story will be saved for another day),

In reading God’s word daily, falling in love with Genesis, and the Book of John. Loving the Psalms and Proverbs, and the Book of Romans,(and in time, all the 66 Books), I discovered that God’s word was a treasure to me. It was my life. My salvation. My breath.

Oh, yes, I love my husband too, but Jesus was my #1 love always and forever after saving me from my insanity. (And then getting me through birth 11 times, and childhood traumas and cancer.)

Yes, Jesus is my #1 love always and forever.  Just ask my husband, he’s always played the 2nd fiddle – especially after all the kids. Sorry, Mike. Don’t get me wrong, Mike is the man. It’s just that Jesus is the Man!

(Don’t you think an exclamation point is needed after that?)

My patient, loving and persevering husband will tell you stories where he was hit head-on in an  accident, and when he finally was able to come home from the hospital, with 7 kids running around and me expecting our Grace, he had to wait a half-an-hour more for his pain meds. Mike has cried only a few times in our 30 years of marriage, and I think that was the first.

And believe me, I was crying too.

So, the change from having ‘no’ children to having ‘all’ the children can be explained in one word: God.

Why 11?  Well, that was God’s number for us. But, I will make this short: Believe it or not,  God spoke to me through a song. An old hymn.

I was playing for a woman’s retreat 20 years ago and we ended with “I Surrender All”.

I Surrender all. All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.”

I felt in my heart, then and there that God was asking me, “Will you give me your womb?”

O my goodness, Nobody does THAT!

But the  Lord put this on my heart, and Mike’s through time, -to trust God with our family.

And Mike ‘waited on the Lord’ (!) to hear this for himself. Exclamation point for all who know Mike, he ‘waits’ on the Lord.

Obviously, Mike heard the calling of God as well. We didn’t want ‘more and more children’. No, we just wanted ‘all’ the children that God had for us.

You see, Mike is a man with the ‘gift’ of faith, where as I simply have faith. (And as small as a mustard seed at times.)

And we continue to seek God and His word, in ‘fear and trembling’ at times with all the pressures of this life, but we hear Jesus simply ask, just as at the start,

“Are you willing to trust Me in this?”

So,  continually Mike and I must make the choice to show up on our knees, with our eyes on Jesus asking, “Show us the way.”

And moment by moment, step by step, He does.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6.

“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4.

This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.” Psalm 119:50.

So, it all started with this, amplified: “Jesus called the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].”

Trusting God is always filled with excitement and blessing.

May we all walk close to Jesus and listen carefully to Him and hear Him speak gently: “Are you willing to trust Me in this?”  And each day we wake, may we make the choice and say, “Yes, Lord. I surrender all.”

From fairy tales to Freedom

 

You see, I grew up with only the fairy tales.

I grew up with the finger’s – crossed and the blown up Easter Bunnies. I grew up with Santa Clause coming to town, and the Tooth Fairy. Some of these are good and fine, and part of being a child– but fears and insecurities and dark thoughts, and … anger, rooted itself deep inside of me – I was choked from enjoying life.

All the believing I was doing, was simply in elementary things – which proved to be like vapors in a cloud.

When I reached, for what I thought had substance, it would only prove disappointing.

I moved away from my home in Arizona to NYC when I was shy of 19 years of age. As weeds in a garden, out of control, an eating disorder was silently taking over my thoughts working its way to destroy every bit of life in me.

I didn’t know what to do with temptations. Always thinking I was fat, thinking of eating or how not to eat, and work off every calorie I had eaten. My thoughts were like a circus spinning in a hundred directions in my brain, with laughing, scary clowns and music with confusion and destruction everywhere.

I had no peace.

There were goals, and ‘how to’ books, but I had no control over my life. I knew all the things I should do. But, I had no power to do them. I had no strength to untangle the knot my world was tied in.

In desperation, I walked into a room filled with people with similar struggles and I read a poster on the wall – one word, three large letters: G-O-D.

This marks the beginning of the rest of my life.

Somehow, on that day, in a basement of some church on a street in Manhattan I realized that GOD was the help I needed.

This time, I knew I didn’t need a diet or a special doctor, I needed a Savior. Not religion, but living Help from a Living God.

I had packed a Bible with me in my move from Arizona to NYC. Given to me by the Key Club boys in High School, back in 1979.

It was one verse in the Book of Matthew 16:24, that Jesus said it, “If any man come after Me, let him deny himself .”

God impressed upon my heart this thought, “Toni, you are destroying yourself with this destructive behavior. I want you to deny yourself of that – because I want to give you a life that is free and full.”

As I was learning how to eat without great panic, and ‘denying myself ‘ the destructive behavior, God had me focus on the next part of the verse: “pick up your cross…

And even though I didn’t understand what pick up your cross meant, God started helping me understand this to mean: not my will but God’s will be done.

He wanted me to have joy. Not to destroy.

God helped me heal and grow.

Follow Me.”  (Matthew 16:24).

Follow Jesus is what I began to do. I read His word. He unveiled Himself in His word. And through time, He healed me.

(Thank you, by the way, Key Club of Arcadia High 1979, Phoenix, Arizona. You have no idea what an impact that gift of a Bible would have on me. I never returned to my High School Reunions because I moved to the East Coast and kept having babies, but that’s a story all its own).

 

It is always fitting to praise Him

“Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” Thus sings the chorus from the 147th Psalm. 

There are times when it’s easy to praise God.  And there are times, when Oh, we don’t feel like praising Him at all.  It can be a sacrifice.

But He tenderly makes it possible when He beautifully paints the morning sky. Can you hear Him ask your heart’s eye,

“Did you see the colors I formed for you? I Am the Lord and I love you.”

He puts joy and delight in a young child’s eye. “The life in this child is a reflection of Me. Be still, take notice. Take time and breathe.”

We work and we toil and we plod along in our lives, we move forward but the rhythm doesn’t always flow real nice, then all of a sudden there is a surprise.

Could it be, we actually won the prize!

Perhaps a sacrifice of praise is the best medicine always. God knows that His children are happy when they hear what He says:

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” 

Breathed out by God, Psalm 147 just might be words to lift weary hearts high as the heavens:

“The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.”

He doesn’t tear apart, He doesn’t divide. The Lord builds up, the Lord gathers, 

‘How good it is to sing praises to God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him.’ (emphasis, mine!)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

These are words from the Lord God Almighty,  we can believe Him faithful always, even when we can’t see.

He is good and He is worthy of our praise, when the sun shines and when the skies are dark with rain. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He loved us yesterday, He loves us today.

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.”

We can’t come close to number the stars, yet He knows the name for each of us. He – knows  – whose  – we  – are.

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

He knows the good, the bad, the ugly. He knows our thoughts every minute.

“The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.”

God’s word reminds us that the ‘fear of the Lord is wisdom’. Trusting Him will make our whole being, sound.

 Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.”

Our vocal chords have strings. Let us be willing to look to Him and sing.

 He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain
   and makes grass grow on the hills.
 He provides food for the cattle, and for the young ravens when they call.”

The word of God empowers the weak. Reading His words transform feeble knees. God’s word is light and living. Oh that we would heed it each morning and evening:

 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.”

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”

Will you join me today to praise Him with out ceasing? He knows when the rhythm and rhyme isn’t flowing, but He is the One Faithful to keep you. He is all knowing.

“Praise the Lord.”

On the good days and the bad.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”

Amen, amen, amen,  Amen!

 

 

 

How to ‘just do the next thing.”

What is it to ‘look to God’ when the eyes of the heart have been shattered? When the next breath brings excruciating pain and tears.

How can the next step be taken. How?

We are surrounded by witnesses, even as a great cloud. The Book of Hebrews breathed out by God says. People long gone and people in our view. We must be willing to watch them, somehow.

If we don’t have a willing heart, we need to ask God to give us one. That’s the start.

Doesn’t a runner focus, commit time to the race and train?  They’re at the track, enduring pain, restriction, even criticism, but they make the choice to even run in the rain.

To do the next thing …

when the breath has been knocked out, we must look to God and Jesus His Son. He sent Him that we might have all the witness we need.

Moment by moment , breath by breath, how did Jesus withstand the agony of the cross?

Eyes on the Father, His heart on us.  Jesus said, I AM willing. He laid down His life for us.

Who is this Man who overcomes, that we are to look upon?

“He is the image of the invisible God…” Colossians 1.

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible … All things were created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1.

These are words written in the Book for all people, quietly sitting on the book shelf. But when opened and read, God again … becomes big.

“He came to His own and His own did not receive Him.” John 1:11.

Rejection and grief are not foreign to Jesus. A witness sufficient, He is alive evermore.

Jesus lifted His eyes to His Father when He prayed for all the people of the world:

“Father, the hour has come, …

“Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, …” John chapter 17, Jesus prays for us still.

As a child we remember Three in One, but somehow through time, perhaps we believe ‘me’ is part of the sum.

But this broken world comes to cut us and bring pain, and there’s nothing left in the ‘me’. Everything’s changed.

So we turn and knock and hope that it’s the right door.

“For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame” Romans 10:11.

“Call us, ‘Whoever’ , Father God, we need You. Show us the Son and move in us by Your Spirit. Bring us each day to clearer vision.  Forever, always.  This is our prayer to our Father in Heaven, Your will be done, You be our vision.”

“My son, ( and daughters too), do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastened, and scourges every son ( and daughter), whom He receives.” Hebrews 12 verse 5and verse 6, extra nouns added to include all of us.

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9.

In order to do the next thing, we must first breathe. Perhaps the Word of God is our very breath. And Jesus  will show us the way, and the path. He is the One who will get us through each step.

Give us, God’s own handwriting

God has come  into the temple, in reading His Story as told by John in the eighth chapter of his Book.

And it is told, (in verse 6, if you happen to want to look at the story yourself), that He begins to write in the dirt.

“Wait a minute. When did God write in the dirt?”

Two thousand years before, it was the finger of God who wrote on stone tablets, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”  Exodus 20.

The religious  leaders of the day  came as policemen asking  about the punishment this woman, caught in adultery, should receive.

“Now Moses, in the law commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” They asked Jesus.

Jesus didn’t answer right away. He stooped down instead and started writing in the dirt with His finger.

So, the scribes and Pharisees kept pressing for His answer.

Jesus raised Himself up and said, (New King James Version):

“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” ( John 8:7).
So one by one, they slipped away, the Story is told.

The oldest leaving first, ‘even to the last.’ (vs. 9).

And Jesus was left alone with the sinner. “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

This is the voice of the Lord.

And she answered, “No one, Lord.”

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

These are the words of God. This is His handwriting.

Do you think the woman lifted her head to look in His eyes?  Jesus comes today to forgive our sin.

Am I willing to hear Him and lift up my head? Am I willing to com to His feet, guilty, and receive his forgiveness. No more hiding in the night.

Adultery. Lies. Turning from God.  The Law is broken in one point it is broken it all. “He who is without sin, let him throw the first stone.”

We are all guilty. Everyone of us has broken the Law of God.

Are we choosing to love the Lord our God with all our hearts? Moment by moment, we love ourselves greater.

Oh, let us draw near to God, perhaps we were ‘brought to God’ in the midst of our sin.’

But shall we not hear the voice of the Savior this day:

” … where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you? “

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

This is the voice of the Savior of the world. This is His Story in the Book of John chapter 8.

“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” Psalm 119:9.

He has written His word. The handwriting is His. Today, do we believe Him? Let us lift up our eyes to His and say, “yes Lord. I receive You.”

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own and His own did not receive Him. But …

As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become …

Children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:10-12.

 

Faithful amid unfaithfulness..

A poem written long ago by J G Deck and published in 1846, would be an appropriate prayer for many us today.

“Faithful amid unfaithfulness, ‘Mid darkness only light,

Thou didst thy Father’s name confess, And in his will delight.

Unmoved by threats or flatt’ring wiles, Or suffering, shame, and loss;

Thy path uncheer’d by earthly smiles, Led only to the cross…”

The poem is about  the Man, sent from God.

Jesus, whose name most know and have heard.  Yet His name is often thrown around, and used as in a curse. Yes, the name of the Man often banned in public circles, is the very name that when called – brings death to a reverse.

“Faithful amid unfaithfulness, ‘Mid darkness only light,

He’s misunderstood completely- from Love to Judge, thought to have a pointing finger – these things ought naught be so.

If  only the children of the world could know: “Faithful amid unfaithfulness, ‘Mid darkness only light,

Thou didst thy Father’s name confess, And in his will delight.

Unmoved by threats or flatt’ring wiles, Or suffering, shame, and loss;

Thy path uncheer’d by earthly smiles, Led only to the cross…”

We, so easily are moved by the multitude. Wake up dear people,  any dead fish can float downstream.

Wake up, Wake up and decide to stand – for the Man who for your deepest and ugliest sin, laid down His life, in your place, And stretched out His hands.

Consider and think . . .

Make this a day of decision, to swim upstream against the flow. J G Deck’s poem has a prayer for us all, to seriously ponder, and in our hearts make a home:

“Give us thy meek and lowly mind; We would obedient be; 

And all our rest and pleasure find In learning, Lord, of thee.”

Meekness is power under control. Others minded is the “lowly mind” needed so.

Peace, peace glorious peace we need. Peace, peace. Is this not what mankind seeks?

“Dear Lord Jesus, help us to yearn for more of You. Help us hunger and thirst for Truth. “Thy Word is Truth,” the Bible declares. “I am the way, and the truth . . .,” Your mouth proclaimed. O that You would receive the glory due Your name. In these last days, may mankind find that it is You that they seek. Increase faith in the land. Take away the world’s unbelief.”

“Jesus, Your name is high above all others. Draw the children, the fathers and the mothers. Encourage the grans, draw nigh to the grants. Pour out Your Holy Spirit. Bring a “river of life” running through. Make the “lame to walk,” the “blind to see.”

“Give us thy meek and lowly mind; We would obedient be;  And all our rest and pleasure find In learning, Lord, of thee.”

And if there be any heart that has never received, let them open the door and let You in. “Jesus, my Savior, Almighty God. Forgive me. Wash me, Empower me with Your Spirit. Give me faith that I might believe, now and for all eternity.

In the name above all names. The King of Kings. I Am. In Jesus name, Amen.”

 

Nevertheless God

We desire friendship with Happiness. We yearn for acquaintance with Joy. But often we find hidden around the corner, Distress and Restlessness.

Where is Rest?

Airwaves reveal that women “roar” and men “parade themselves.” Children very young and very old, and all the ages in between seek Refuge.

He reaches His hand out in the storm. He speaks, as “our bodies had no rest, . . . we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.

Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us . . .” (2 Corinthians 7:5,6. NKJV).  

Refuge comes in the storm. His Word brings His companion, Calm. And Calm has a twin, who’s name is Song.

“O soul are you weary and troubled. No light in the darkness you see. There’s a light for a look at the Savior and life more abundant and free.”

Then Remember came to my rescue and offered some strong exhortation:

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38, NIV.

“O God,” I cry, “Remind me.” The mountains quake, the trials mount. When lying on my bed, my head cries, “There’s no way out!”

And a still, quiet voice speaks mysteriously deep:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”      Psalm 46, from the Holy Book.

God speaks in the hymn of old, when weariness overtakes our soul, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

So I run to the Word, His present help, and I turn to Psalm 46 to calm me back to sleep:

 “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
 God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

So, let us “turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face,” that we might seek refuge from the Lord and not men. That we might have Peace dwell deep inside, giving counsel and comfort to put anxiety aside,

that we might have an abundance of hope and joy and all the rest, because we have made God, The Almighty, Lord of All the Universe, our confidence.

Today, today – let us yearn to seek His face.

 

 

No rest in a storm, or is there?

No rest in a storm, or is there?

 “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” This is found in the Book of Mark chapter 4 verse 38. It appears that Jesus sleeps in their storm.

And we often think that Jesus ‘sleeps’ through our storms as well. So, we set off to live our life without Him. And the Book, then, remains closed.

I write this blog,  with the theme , “He shows us His Hand.” As I visualize the picture painted years ago of crashing waves of a storm on a lone ship, yet with further notice, the waves form His Hand with a secure hold.

But – I didn’t believe at times, even as a believer,  I didn’t believe that God cared about the crisis and great ‘squalls’ of loss that came my way.

People with good intentions would say, “Just hold on.”

But there was no ‘holding on.’

There were words on my bedroom wall, passed often in the midst of each day, “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. And I would talk to God and say,

“I don’t believe You.”

But none of this changed the fact that He, God, the Creator of the Universe, the One who knew my name before I was  formed in my mother’s womb – none of my doubt changed the fact that – God had a hold on me.

So I write a blog with a ton of underlying rules, but I hear One voice, “Write for yourself, what I’ve shown you.” (Jer. 36:2),“Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you …”

But, what if I truly gave up on God? What if I didn’t search for Him to show me something? What if I didn’t cry out to Him, “Jesus, don’t You care that I’m drowning?”

I don’t know. Because I did call. I called His name. I did.

Jesus. Help me.”

So, the Book is open, to Mark chapter 4 and I read verse 9 a bit ahead of the storm:

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

And I asked God right then, ‘to speak to me now.’ And in looking beyond verse 9 of Mark 4, Jesus explains a story that He told multitudes that day.

I will include the Word of God here, but I will say, God spoke. He wasn’t sleeping, He was near. Not because I could see Him or even know ‘something’ had changed, it hadn’t at all – but you see, He didn’t ‘give’ me peace because ‘He is Peace’. He is the Peace I seek. It’s in the calling of His name.

He’s not just a ‘fair-weather’ Friend. He’s a forever Savior through the thick and the thin.

So, way before Jesus spoke the words, “Peace, be still.” In Mark 4 verse 39, He spoke to them in a story, that they forgot once the waves had hit:

“Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown.

As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.

16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 1

Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Peace is in agreeing and accepting what God says. Even when you don’t understand and your heart even bleeds, Jesus is our Peace – for now … and always.

Call Him, He answers. Jesus is His name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Say to them … of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not:”

“Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:4, KJV.

This is the Word of God, King James Version where some words are spelled differently today. But recompense has the same strong meaning according to an old Webster’s definition:  REC’OMPENSE, verb transitive

1. To compensate; to make return of an equivalent for any thing given, done or suffered; as, to recompense a person for services, for fidelity or for sacrifices of time, for loss or damages.

Do you believe God’s word? Many can say, “Yes, God I do.”

But it seems this world has become a wilderness.

As the busy-ness takes our eyes away from the Mount on which we must look to for courage and hope.

Isolated, yet surrounded by voices everywhere, our eyes are not up – but looking about as if on a fairground,  we in turn feel barren and alone, even dry and parched as a desert place.

There are enemies of God. The foes of God are many. They are loud. They lie. They murder. They deceive. They manipulate. They hate behind smiling faces.

Followers of God are to hate only one thing: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9.

But what are the children to do? They are lied to continuously. The children of this world are being taught that loss, suffering, sickness, and pain come from a ‘hard-hearted’ God, and it’s all His fault. Or they prove God is ‘dead’ over and over inside their heads.

Anger abounds in the hearts of the children of the world. The anger has brought on violence and fear and strife and tears.

The thirsting of the people have cause them to seek all else but God.

But Your Word, You – Who are from the Beginning, the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega, call Your children to You softly,… :

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3. 

“I will speak comfort, and courage, and hope. I will enlighten the darkness of each day. Will you hear My words? Right now? This day?

Then you may think for yourselves instead of following the crowd. That you might help lift others out of the pit they are in, or perhaps offer living waters to those who are thirsty and be a friend.  Call to Me, I am love. I am here, I alone, am good. Search my Word, discover hope for yourself and breathe:”

I do not come with the pointing finger. I do not accuse and condemn. That is the job of My enemy. Hear My Words and stop listening to him:”

“Strengthen the weak hands,
    and make firm the feeble knees.
 Say to those who have an anxious heart,
    “Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
    will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
    He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
 then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;
 the burning sand shall become a pool,
    and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
    the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

 And a highway shall be there,
    and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
    It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
    even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.[a]
 No lion shall be there,
    nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
   Isaiah 35:3-9, NIV.

This is the Word of God. These aren’t some pretty words for some far away future heaven – these words breathe a reality of peace in the midst of the sorrow, in the midst of the fight.

Jesus is an ever present help in times of trouble. He is the Word.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5.

“Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.” Romans 12:9, NLT.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.

‘Full of grace and truth …’ hold tightly to Me. I am Jesus. ‘Be strong and don’t be afraid.’ I am your Savior:

  “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
    and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
    they shall obtain gladness and joy,
    and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:10, NIV.