A graduation speech, that must needs be remembered

Needing reminders from a speech from a young college graduate on graduation day: 

“I would like to say that now that we have our degree, we will not run into problems that we can’t handle, but truthfully no matter the type of degree, the number of years of experience, no matter the location, the support groups, the family, or the friendships, there will always come a time when we just don’t know the answer. It’s inevitable, so I want to encourage you with a little anatomy lesson.

Did you know that there are 47 different structures that make up the human eye that all have a unique function? Did you know that there are 6 extra-ocular muscles, 4 cranial nerves, and 1.2 million nerve fibers in each optic nerve? Did you know that when light waves touch my eye, without even thinking about it I blink to protect them from too much exposure? And when the amount of light changes, my pupillary -light response reacts without a thought so that only the right amount of light is let into my eye.

Did you know that there are four out of twelve cranial nerves that work specifically for the eye so that they can not only allow me to focus on a object and read it but also so that they can move in different directions. There are 9 different structures that all play a specific role in receiving light messages before they even get to the brain! And it is not until those messages get to the occipital lobe of the brain that I can interpret what I am actually seeing.

The eyes receive millions of light waves and messages everyday, but my brain has a specific area that let’s only the important and significant messages through so that the brain doesn’t get over-stimulated.

And did you know that the God who told me to cast all my cares upon Him, and that He will never leave me nor forsake me, that I should be anxious for nothing, was the very One who designed this whole system and hundreds like it so that we can live and move and breathe every second.

And did you know that He didn’t have to lift a finger and didn’t sweat a drop to think of it, He just breathed on one man and He said that He knit us together and formed us in our mother’s womb before you were even a thought in her mind.

And now you tell me, what are you worried about?  What will you be worried about when you come up to those hurdles that are bound to cross you path? I want you to think of your eye and tell me, that your situation, your problem, your worry is TOO big for the GOD who created you and the world you live in to handle…” ( Carolyn Rypkema at Lamplighting Ceremony at PBAU May 3,2012).

So I respond today, with a child-like poem so I can remember: “When I take a little moment, just to think of my eye, and ponder all the facts that we know – my anxious heart is put to rest and now my thoughts are put to test, to choose to trust and let go. To ‘let go’ of worry and strife, pain, and fear, and to think of my eye! ’cause then I remember  – He knows everything! He knows…  much more than I.”

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Time for some “R and R and R.”

“Lead me not into temptation,” it seems night is filled with them. Fatigue and fatigue, and did I say “fatigue,” have apparently let some evil friends in.

Fear  and Doubt invade my space. My thoughts race, my mind is set anxiously on edge.

I need some “R and R.”

So I run to my place of refuge – where my feet can find security. Where needed hope is present, where the past is covered, and my feet stumble far less.

Your Word O God, is my rest. In You is merciful love and forgiveness:

“Keep me safe, my God, for in You I take refuge.” (1) Yes, LORD, to You I speak, seeking You in my prayer of the night.

“Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, . . .”(2)

Bring faith to wipe out my fears. Make me to be still on familiar ground, with Psalm 23, and well known verses hid deep down.

Haven’t I been reminded recently to “Repent. Remember, and Repeat.”

That’s it! I don’t simply need some “R and R,” I need “R and R and R.”

I’m turning around. I’m thinking again, the thoughts that are “noble,” and of good report. (3)

How the power of the word can soothe my anxious thoughts. Read aloud, how sweet the sound: “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want . . .” (4)

You’ve commanded me, now let me agree. Let me stop my doubting, this moment. God speaks:

“Do not fret . . . Nor be envious . . .Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” (5)

What has been my food, this whole anxious evening? I’ve been feeding on Lack, and lack, and that horrible taste of “Lack.”

“Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (6)

“Stop it!” I hear a gentle and firm voice say to me. Put off your fret and put on faith. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (7)

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (8)

I will turn around my thinking. Moment by moment, not just once and for all. I will remember to think on God’s Word my refuge.

Jesus loves me, and you, and everyone, actually.  I don’t – but He does. I will feed and delight myself on His Good News and begin to see everyone as someone that He willingly went to the cross for. I will delight myself in words that are sound.

And as I wait, I will sing. “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” (9)

“Repent. Remember. Repeat.”

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (10)

Repent and Remember. Wisdom for the day, and Repeat is the secret that a Rock may be for my feet.

 

(1) Psalm 16:1.

(2) Psalm 143:7

(3) Philippians 4:8

(4) Psalm 23:1

(5) Psalm 37:1,3

(6) Psalm 37:4

(7) Psalm 32:8

(8) Psalm 119:105

(9) Psalm 40:3

(10) Romans 8: 31-38.

Faithful amid unfaithfulness..

I have been graciously corrected. The credit due to this wonderful old poem does not go to Spurgeon, but to J G Deck who published “Faithful Amid Unfaithfulness,” in 1846, before Spurgeon was even converted.

See God's Hand

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 named 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…

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Fire burns. Fire purifies.

See God's Hand

When fire comes and the flesh is burning, run Not,   or the fire will be fed to raging.

Stop and drop and look for a covering, to smolder the flames, and be still.  Let the help come to cover the burns, this is what as a child, we learn.

With time and tender compassionate dressing, with ointments that heal the wounds. The flesh heals, in time and long minutes,  yet the scars remain – that we remember, the pain, but the healing is greater still. The healing is greater still.

How do we know such things? The Bible tells us so:

Malachi 3:2-4: “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.

“He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi…

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“Be Thou my Vision,” again and again.

“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…”

“Be Thou my vision.” What do I see? Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  One God only – yet three. The Father sent the Son because of man’s fall, to crush the serpent’s head.  Thy word tells us all.

“Thou my best thought by day or by night.” Yes, Jesus came. Yes, Jesus died. But He didn’t stay on the cross – He rose from the dead in resurrection – death brought life, not loss.

The vision is clear. As an ugly bulb is put into the ground, in the fall to simply die. But  it doesn’t stay there, dead forever. It springs up into life with color and favor.

“How that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…”, says, Thou true word. “And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”  “According to the Scriptures,” You draw pictures when read:

Even in Leviticus, dreadful reading at times, You hide great treasures and portraits for Your children to find. Portraits of the resurrection, portraits of Your Son. How is a leper cleansed? It is spelled out in verse one of Leviticus 14. Leviticus 14:1.

Spelled out in Scripture, is a priest and two birds. One bird is killed over running water, then put into an earthen jar, not pretty, but true. And the second bird with cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop is dipped in the blood of that first dying bird, then released and set free – into the sky, an illustration of that brings glory to You.

“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.”

“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4. Just as Christ was raised from the dead. And, “Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee, one.” Unified together. Victory is won.

“Be Thou my battle -shield. Sword for my fight! Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight. Thought my souls shelter, Thou my high tower, Raise Thou me heavenward, O power, of my power!”

The sword of Your word tells me the “old man” was crucified. That my “body of sin” is done away. I no longer have to be a slave to the brokenness within. (Rom. 6:6)

“Thou my souls shelter, Thou my high tower. Raise Thou me heavenward, O power, of my power!”

“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.”

“And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called…” (Romans 9:23). “Vessels of mercy?” We were allowed to be broken, first. Then mercy was granted. Not giving us what we deserve. Loving us when we didn’t love back.

That someday, we might make known the riches of Your glory. Standing tall and proclaiming with sound on our own lips:  “Thou and Thou only, First in my heart, High King of Heaven, my treasure, Thou art.”

“High King of heaven, our victory won.  May I reach heaven’s joy, bright heaven’s Son. Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.”

So as we think on these things, great and mighty, we may trust and obey and follow Him more united. “Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, . . .  O Ruler of All.”

“Hallelujah, Amen.” Let us make these words “new” every time we sing them.

God, make our life a portrait of Your resurrection. Once dead, but now alive. Alive in You dear Jesus, for now – in good, and bad, in all that life brings, and forever, for the long haul, for all eternity.

“Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be my vision, O Ruler of all.”

When our hearts need to hear the voice of God

“Speak LORD, Your servant hears.” (1)

We’re listening. “Speak Lord, our hearts are open. You see the complete story, the total reality. The cost of our turning to You at this time.”

The painful brambles of life have brought temptation – to doubt and believe that You’ve left us alone. That You’re silent and distant. That You’re just like man.

But deep down inside, in the depth of our soul, we know this is a lie. For we learned long ago, “the Bible tells me so.”

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8. Yes, typed in bold.

Somewhere, deep down, this word was filed. Brought up and resurrected, by the Spirit of the living God, to make straight something that had gone wild.

“He does speak. He does dwell inside.” A breath of encouragement is given. He is alive. He does abide.

But, we wrestle with God, even after revelation!

We must not be “fair weather friends.” Let us choose now to believe  when the floods come and it’s typhoon weather.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want . . .” Psalm 23:1.

But, “I’m wanting Lord.” We confess in our heart. “I’m needy and helpless. I don’t know how to trust.”

So we cry out together, asking for audible words: “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening,” and we open and turn His “dull looking” pages.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs3:5,6.

A brilliance is hidden under the cover. Hungry we are. So we pray words together:

 ‘“Dear Lord, don’t let my affliction grow greater than You. May I not seek sufficiency from wells, dry and broken, but may I go to You and listen to the words You have spoken.”

  If, “Jesus wept,” (John 11:35) then surely in this life, we will weep as well.

This is God’s word. We will read aloud together, that our souls might be satisfied, and no longer starved with hunger:

“But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”(2)

 I have spoken. Do not be tempted to doubt. I will fill you with My Spirit that your faith will abound. Will you choose to make me Lord and submit? This is the power of God to you. Take hold, reach up, I offer this. Receive.

“For no one is cast off
    by the Lord forever.
 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
    so great is his unfailing love.
 For he does not willingly bring affliction
    or grief to anyone.” “This is My word from Lamentations. (3) Walk in this. Give fear no reservations.”

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.

Can we hear the voice of God?

Yes, gentle and clear. Lovingly gracious and dear.

 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.  Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”(4)

(1) 1 Samuel 3:9.

(2) Isaiah 43:1-3.

(3) Lamentations 3:31,32.

(4) Hebrews 5:7-9.