United sound brings a sweet fragrance/ Amazing Grace

Common knowledge learned, in the reach to smell a rose is, “Every rose has its thorns.”

“Ouch!”

How this world with vast beauty and joy, is also sharp and prickly. It punctures and so often, brings about so much more than a “whine”.

Yet,”For God so loves the world.

How can it be? There are days I can’t “love” anything.

I feel so far from smelling the roses. The “thorns” seem to be, like weeds, surrr-rrrou-nnn-ding.

The darkness of nursery rhymes come to the surface, “Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

“Whoever wrote these rhymes anyway? Though the origins are argued, we must believe, it was a day of “thorns” in a struggle to smell the rose.

Common knowledge. Community. Comforts and joy in the reciting. Children gather, hand in hand. Going around and ’round, making familiar sounds. “Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”

Amidst dark clouds, and thoughts of ashes – being together, gathering around, common words chimed – heaviness dashes.

“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.”

The song is sung and we all join along, even if the tone is completely wrong. The melody flows from all lips with a smile. In full agreement, hearts receive the gracious love God freely gives.

There’s no strife when hearts unify. There’s no disagreement in the “wretch” that we each be. The thirst seems quenched. The heart instantly warmed.

The smell of roses comes vibrantly alive, when we put sound on our voice and in a common hymn sing! This is where God abides. This is where He dwells. We can all agree. Yes, we agree and somehow our blindness is made to flee:

“‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.”

As if time stops. Glory invites. “For God,” gave His Son, that we might overcome. The song, is sung. And we agree together, and sing along:

“Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.”

Jesus can turn water to wine. Jesus can heal. Jesus can restore. The fragrance of joy is smelled. Let us put sound on our voice. And join together and sing.

Let us unify. Let us give thanks. Let us worship our King.

“Praise God. Praise God. Praise God. Praise God!

 

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Boastful In One Thing Alone/To God be the Glory

Not boastful about family, yet full of joy, love, and pride. Our family is a gift from God, shared and loaned to each of us for a time.

Not boastful in our talents, or all of our great powers:  To think. To sing. To run fast, to draw.

To create. To figure. To fly. To build high towers. Not boastful in any of these things at all. These are gifts given to us by the great and Almighty God.

Instead – Let us boast and give glory to Him. It is high time we give glory to One who is worthy. We seek God. We desire Him. Let us open His Book and receive His whole Story.

“To God be the glory, great things He hath done, So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, . . . ” (1)

Boastful in one thing and one thing alone: the cross that the Son of God endured for each and everyone.

For God so loved the world, yesterday and today. Even for all who hate Him and despise Him, the cross He endured.

Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.

The Place of the Skull, where there stood the cross. Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, To every believer the promise of God;

Not only one, but of crosses, there were three. And the story is read, of the choices of the thieves:
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son.

Boastful today about the cross alone. We’ve been redeemed, yes, bought by the Son, who paid for all the damages brought on by our sin.

Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.

We must not boast for ourselves, in a gift that is given. Let’s give God the glory He so wonderfully deserves.

Those who fear man will be fearful in this. But in these last days, let us boast in Christ – let us be of the courageous.

Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.

Jesus laid down His life that we might have it abundant. Living water for our thirst. Daily Bread for our hunger. His Spirit indwelling when we believe on the cross. The Father so loves that He gave His own Son.

On thing we must boast in, let us boast in the cross.

This old hymn brought out to the light was written by a woman who was completely blind. Fanny Crosby’s fingers wrote thousands of hymns. God allowed blindness in her life, only to give her incredible sight.

To God be the Glory,” one hymn out of many, has perhaps even today, opened some eyes that were blind – to see. Let’s give God praise:

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice;
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.

(1) To God Be the Glory. Fanny Crosby (1820-1915).

 

 

 

I’m Changed, Daily

“The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.” Isaiah 61:3, Amplified.

Changes are necessary.

A change of clothes is a natural occurrence, for everyone, hopefully, at least once a day.

We begin clean and fresh but through the course of time, we can acquire smells.

My fragrance changes from healthy to pale when words arise in my ears and eyes. In a moments time a report can bring down great amounts of torrential rains.  Be it news, an assignment, the correction, the debt owed.  The diagnosis, the prognosis, the dropped ball, the “no show.

How sudden everything bright can be enveloped by sighs.

How quickly anxiety and fretfulness wrap around like a weed and there’s no clarity of thought – only thoughts reckless and headstrong. Yielding no peace.

I’m guilty of fear, which brings on regret. I speak unkind words that I can’t retract.

Escape I must, so I run to a place, . . .

of hiding and silence and God’s quietness. He waits for me and makes me lie down on pastures of green, so familiar in sound.

And God speaks to my soul: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” (1). For the “spirit of heaviness,” let Me change your clothing and help you put on a  “garment of praise.” (2).

Lord, I cry, in my weariness, I’m weak. I have no strength. I can’t find a thankful thought. Trouble has clouded my eyes. There’s pain of blood dripping from my heart, and the only language I seem to speak, brings confusion to the ones closest to me.

“Don’t try to figure it all out. Don’t worry about all the “stuff.” That’s an unknown future that you can trust Me with, you know. Let Me take this garment of heaviness from your mind and your heart. Let me remind you that each past failure, has been a teacher bringing about great growth. Let Me help you put a robe of “thankfulness” on. Let Me remind you of good things with amplified reports.

“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” (3)

“Read aloud My word, Amplified, in whom, the Son that I did send opened the Book and read aloud in the hearing of man:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me
To bring good news to the humble and afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives
And freedom to prisoners,
 
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance and retribution of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,
 
To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following:
To give them a turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning],
The oil of joy instead of mourning,

The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.
So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God],
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Remember Me. Let me lift your heavy heart. Sing a hymn, I will change your garments to Praise.”

The garment of Doxology will be my starting point. Thank you God, that You know my name.

 “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. (The Doxology).

(1) Romans 12:2.

(2) Isaiah 61:3.

(3) Hebrews 12:12.

 

 

 

I choose health over anxiety. Where’s my hymnal?

Got health? Real wealth? Worthwhile things are worth the fight.

The struggle to balance. The work to think straight. The temptations surrounding. The need to put off, put away, to breathe, to wait.

I’ll let go of blame and fret. I’ll look up, not out. If it pleases God, that’s my final answer. His way, not mine, or the popular opinion of the time.

I choose to follow the direction that God leads. Even though He knows, I will fail Him over and over as He watches me.

So I take hold  of some old trust-worthy words, and recite them aloud like a song of a bird,

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms

Oh, there are ten thousand charms. Yes, riches, true riches are being near to God. Being full of peace and comfort, not fearing nor having alarm.

But alarm I have, and in fear I dive. But God is a help, and old hymns remind:

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome
God’s free bounty glorify
True belief and true repentance
Every grace that brings you nigh
Come, ye weary, heavy-laden
Lost and ruined by the fall
If you tarry ’til you’re better
You will never come at all

 

God is love. We are not. He is gracious in His being. He is compassionate.  His heart is gentle and kind. He doesn’t parade Himself. He is truthful, all of the time.

He knows our thoughts.

He is able to make a hard heart soft. He is powerful and willing. So often, we are not.

Are we are tired of being sick? Are willing to change our direction.

God the Father through Jesus His Son, and the power of His Spirit can bring change to our whole story.

He can give us wealth of health with freedom and forgiveness.

And He gives us victory to bring a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

No longer dwelling on the failures of the past. No longer projecting of a future unknown. Living in the present on this earth making my house a dwelling place for the Lord.

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Hymn by Joseph Hart:
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy
Weak and wounded, sick and sore
Jesus ready, stands to save you
Full of pity, love and power
I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms
Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome
God’s free bounty glorify
True belief and true repentance
Every grace that brings you nigh
Come, ye weary, heavy-laden
Lost and ruined by the fall
If you tarry ’til you’re better
You will never come at all
I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms

Get up! And fight with Hymn and Psalm

Crisis comes. The “fight” begins.  The battle is greatest against thoughts of fear and uncertainty. “The Lord is on thy side,” the old hymn reminds. But these words feel far removed at this time.

Be Still My soul.” The words learned during past trial, now echo from deep below. “Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently, the cross of grief or pain.”

“Patiently.” That word. Who would ever choose that word?

Bear in l-o-n-g – s-u-f-f-e-r-i-n-g are my thoughts’ reasoning.  And, like a thread of continuation, “Love suffers long and is kind” pops in head.

“1 Corinthians 13 is impossible with man!” is my next exclamation. “I need a Savior.” is my heart’s cry.

Sorrow and fatigue leave me by a “Slough of Despond,” Just as in the old classic I have read. But, the Hymn of faith fights to bring truth to my lips,  “Leave to Thy God, to order and provide. In every change, He faithful will remain. Be still my soul.”

The battle rages against doubt and more doubt: “I can’t do this.” “God’s plan is not for good.”

“Why did He allow this?” My heart fails, only to remind me of a verse hidden there:

“My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26.

Remembrance is as if picking up a sword, and doubt flees. “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73: 25, 26 reminded me what I forgot.

Forever. That includes today.

But God is

“Be still my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend, through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”

So, I take up a hymn and a Psalm for strength. I breath the words that my heart and mind have learned and I speak aloud that my whole being hears the sound:

“Be still my soul. Thy God doth undertake. To guide thy future, as He has the past. Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake,

in every change, he faithful will remain. Be still my soul. The waves and wind still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”

Faith restored, I open up God’s word. Psalm 73 speaks so personal to me: “Truly God is good to Israel. To such as are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped…”

“Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. NeverthelessI am continually with You;”

“You hold me by my right hand.”

“You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail;”

“But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:1,2,21-26.

My “forever” begins this minute, right now. Let us fight this battle with faith.

Join me? Let’s get up and get going in His strength. The Lord is on our side!

 

 

 

 

The prayer in the hymn. The answer within: “Just from Jesus, simply taking …

Deep inside, tired. Deep within, weary. Like a wilted plant longing for reviving water. We hold out our hands, and our spirits seek God. In our weakness of faith, we cry out to Him.

And He hears our silent voices. He sees our seeking hearts. He breathes upon our frame mysterious peace though nothing changes.

Personally, as for me, deep inside my heart, I write what the Living God, through His glorious Spirit does, as I long for so much, time and time again. My morning prayer is written – from an age old hymn.

Not the first part, nor the middle – but the last thought becomes my prayer: “… O for grace to trust Thee more … O for grace to trust You more.” Silent words repeated over and again, but with wholehearted meaning and truthfulness: “O for grace, to trust You more.”

The next thing I know is a resurrection takes place. My eyes lift up and my whole countenance has change. “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.” This is the Spirit of God speaking: “Trust Me.”

“Trust, … Me.

I know the old words. What a treasure store. The Spirit brings them to my mind to answer and restore:“Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.”

Simply take from Jesus: life and rest, and joy and peace?

Then the realization is brought to mind, in my weariness, I’m not taking from Jesus – anything. Like stagnant waters with no movement and sound. But to my rescue at my soundless call, the Spirit woos me to remember His Song.

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

The next thing I know, my heart responds. Being reminded of my Love who is mine, evermore. And the song, though silent, stirs in my heart and revives me and prays the words I longed for:

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Then those words, almost hidden, they are. Words that could be so easily missed – become highlighted to me and repeated again …

“Just from Jesus simply taking, life and rest. Joy and peace.” 

“Take from Me. Take from Me.” I feel my Jesus answer.

“I offer life. I offer rest. I offer joy and peace.”

What do we say, to the old hymn’s reminder? What is our response this day, this hour?

Let’s respond with the old words that are written, and be renewed in the spirit of our minds once again. Let us rejoice in the Lord, always – no matter the mess we’re in.

Let us sing, even aloud with our voices today,

“Jesus, Jesus, how I trust You. How I’ve proved You o’er and o’er Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! Oh, for grace to trust You more!”

“O for grace to trust You more.”

So, today I will go, knowing I will fail Him often. Especially in my trust in Him along the way. But there will be a day, when He calls me to meet Him, and I will finally be able to truthfully say:

“I’m so glad I learned to trust Him, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend”

but today, I will believe with all my heart the hymn:

“And I know that He is with me,
Will be with me to the end.”

Let us sing with rejoicing and be ignited with praise:

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood
And in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!