Re-weave this tapestry

“Empty the impatience, empty the anxiety.” You, Lord, can read my heart as it cries,  “Give me a break!”

This tapestry of mine is frayed and torn and worn out, forlorn.

Then, I remember, when You walked this dry, barren land, officials with position put on Your head a thorny crown.

The words, “Give me a break,” come back to me, as I watch You in Your word, in silence You went, the way of the cross.

I have a payment owed. I can’t come close to pay it.

Death for my sin is the bottom line. To be separated forever from Your Love, for all time.

I am broken and frayed. I can’t meet the requirements. To be perfect and holy, there’s naturally, no way.

“I am willing.” Jesus answers. Not with words, but in action. The words of the pages bring the past into focus.  The words are today, for me, in the present.

“Show me!” I cry. And He answers before my eyes:

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe  and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”  When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!

 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” (John 19:1-6, NIV).

 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” (John 19:7).

The word speaks with such sharpness. How the story often is blurred. But living, it speaks. To me, every word:

 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.  “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar . . .”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out, . . . “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”

How can I read all this and not ask, “Who is this Man?”

Praying, “God, give me a break.” He shows me, “I AM.”

 

Deeply woven in me is a sense of justice. But, it’s not found in You.

Weaved inside my being are threads that life should be fair. That what’s “right” must prevail.

But, Jesus. You didn’t fight. You didn’t defend Your innocence.

You remained silent. You weave the word s-a-c-r-f-i-c-e in Your cloak of Love.

And in my tapestry, you find competition, comparisons, insecurities, and pride.

And, who am I kidding, rudeness and evil thoughts thread their way through, knit, naturally within my whole being.

Rip it all out Lord. Rip these threads from me. I believe Who You are. You came that I might be made free.

Weave in me, Your Scarlet thread. Death to myself and my own righteousness – and my needing control of the circumstance. Re-weave me.

I am broken and frayed. But I believe You came. Let my tapestry proclaim You.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. (Revelation 21:5-7).

 

 

Changing Landscapes?

Soil, hard with clay and stone. Creates a landscape barren. Barren, dry, plain, and forlorn.

But with a shovel, some dirt, sweat and possibly tears – seeds can be fallen to bring about hope.

Planting seeds of promise. Promise of refreshing fruit.

“. . . unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (1)

“If it dies, it produces,” produces and multiplies. Life and fruit overcome. Life then, overcomes the weeds.

Soil prepared and seeds planted, required sun and water surrounded – the “kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,” and a miracle springs up before our eyes.

Fragile, tender – however, life’s there!

Promise of a flower, a tomato, or pear. Fruit of self-control, and gentleness, and care.

“. . . unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,” 

“Jesus, You see my struggle. May I determine to focus on Your eyes. On the cross, You, the Lamb of God, willingly laid Your life down for me – that I might overcome, and be made free.

The struggle, the strain. Who likes “to die?” But the promise of newness- the guarantee of life. I will fix my eyes upon Jesus, and ask that You be magnified.

Magnify Your splendor. Magnify Your grace. Magnify Your steadfast love. No longer barren, but now a beautiful landscape.

A landscape of hope. Earth filled with color. Land providing sustenance. Fruit in multiplication- spread to splash this world with color.

“. . . unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, . . .”

the fruit of love is spread all over.

(1) John 12:24, NIV

What news are we investing time in?

We see and hear the news. Have we honestly been deceived in believing the daily news is of more value than the inspired Word of the God, who Loves and created us all?

With intelligence in technology, and language, and medicine, and law – have we really come to believe we can “live life without God?”

In Literature, we understand the best story has great conflict. Did we forget there’s an enemy that’s out to destroy? Did we forget he hates everyone? Satan deceives the world that God is the “kill joy.” When he, himself is the killer of all joy.

Satan hates. Satan lies. And he’s deceived the world that God doesn’t care.

Our hearts and minds are naturally dark from the fall.

By page 3, in the Book, the Bible, by name – we can clearly see, that God didn’t bring the ruin we often give Him blame.  Where is the curiosity to “check it out for ourselves?” Do we really believe the modern “opinion” of what the Book’s all about.

Did we forget that all the words that flow through our brains is not truth. All the words we read are not fact. Satan hates. And He is in full attack!

The name of “Jesus” is an offense. “Whatever you do, don’t speak of His name.”

Can’t you see the smirk on Satan’s face, when in the name of “Jesus” Satan has to flee.

Run to the Word. Seek refuge in God. Yell at Him if you must. Tell Him your heart. God is big enough to take your pain and your anger.

He sent His Son. Your debt has been paid. Talk to Him about Jesus. Ask Him what it’s all about.

His word will bring healing to your heart.

When we turn in our disaster to His good and precious Word. When we seek Him in brokenness, He won’t turn away,

He hears . . .

He hears . . .

Are you seeking His face? He will pour down on you, His grace.

Satan hates for any to believe. If you get on your knees, he has to flee.

A Book in the Bible, Nehemiah by name, tells a story, that today many can relate. Nehemiah received news about the state of his homeland.

Those who survived the exile . . . are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” Nehemiah 1:3.

Turn and open the pages in the Book. Watch Nehemiah’s response, after receiving news of the day:

 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”   Then I said:

Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,  let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.” (Nehemiah 1:4-6).

Have we forgotten God is the creator of heaven, and is the great and awesome God?

Have we believed all the words of deception, of  “Big Bang” evolution – even though every day we see that through time all material things break down.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – a universal law of decay. Yet book after book fill the libraries today that great systems evolved through eons of time.

Satan laughs through it all. He’s deceived God’s creation.

Back to Nehemiah, and his prayer. Could it be, that God will restore life and hope in the hearts of us all, if we simply open old, and sacred pages:

“I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.  We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations,  but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’” (Nehemiah 1:6-9).

Can we humble ourselves and admit “sin” anymore?

“O God, turn us around. Restore. Restore!”

What medicine ever “tastes” good and is “easy to take?” The remedy of “turning to God and admitting my wrong,” isn’t pleasant,

but that’s when the healing comes. Do hard things.

Can you and I admit that we’ve been unfaithful? That our hearts feel “scattered” and torn. Can you and I receive today, the promise in the return:

but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.” (Nehemiah 1:9).

I pray for a return of the children of God. Let’s pray “Revival.” And believe in our hearts that with God’s “great strength and mighty hand,” He will “gather” His children back and restore.

That the News of God’s Holy Word would be the priority above all things.

“Today, Our Father in heaven, in Whom we pray, and in the name of Jesus, Whom You gave to save, I humble and pray and seek Your face. Will You wipe away all my sin and disgrace? I believe healing, salvation and an outpouring of Your amazing grace. A new creation today, I’ll be. Thank you for gathering me, and setting me free. in Jesus name, Amen.”

 

 

 

 

Nevertheless God

Most people desire friendship with Happiness. I know I do. And we yearn for acquaintance with Joy.

Do we not?

Joy, so easily sneaks out the back door  when Distress and Restlessness show their heads and appear.

And where is Rest? Did we not invite him at the close of the day? Where did he go when everyone else was sleeping?

With a tap of a finger, or a click with the thumb, women “roar” and men “parade” themselves, places are torn down.  Trouble surrounds.  But, there’s a voice of Refuge shouting, “Turn it off! Turn it off! Stop and remember what God’s Word has to say:

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 reminds. His companion, Calm, follows close behind singing a song from age-old time:

“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. 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.” (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Helen Lemmel (1863-1961).

Remember did come to my aid with a warning: “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 promises. When the mountains quake, the trials mount, and Anxiety wants to be my best friend. Speak Lord, speak with mysteries 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 46:1-3.

Nevertheless God shows up. In His word, in old songs, in each breath that I take.  And He teaches me again to sing,

“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.”

Refuge came. He brought Calm along. With a Psalm and Song, I finally found Rest.

 “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.”

And this is where I found Joy.

  1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?
    No light in the darkness you see?
    There’s light for a look at the Savior,
    And life more abundant and free!

    • Refrain:
      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.
  2. Through death into life everlasting
    He passed, and we follow Him there;
    O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
    For more than conqu’rors we are!
  3. His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
    Believe Him, and all will be well:
    Then go to a world that is dying,
    His perfect salvation to tell!   hymn by Helen Lemmel

 

 

 

 

Speak, “Be Still My Soul.” Time and again, for myself and my friends

“Be Still my soul … ” (1)

How can it be? The reality. God help us see – that You are the Almighty. “Be Still my soul … Be Still my soul.” 

Words. They hold power.

Let us speak old words together. With fears, and stress, tears and pain, whether seen on the outside – it seems, there are dark clouds within. We walk in the night, with courage and fight  – “O God, we cry – increase our faith  –  again, and again.

Today we pray, “Increase our faith.” Tomorrow we asked for increased faith again in this marathon-type race.

Words penned in 1752, over 200 years ago, bring health to the soul, somehow. So, today, let us pray together, to our God Almighty and our Father in heaven, with old words, true, (yet first person is changed a few)-  that we might  comfort ourselves in You.

Let us say together, out loud, putting sound on our chords:   “Be Still my Soul. Be Still my soul, The Lord is on our side …

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to our God to order and provide;
In every change, You faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”

There is so much change. But You, O LORD remain. We draw near to You, and You draw near when we do. O God, help us, today in such darkness, take hold of Your light and believe and rest . . .

in Your faithfulness.

“Be still, my soul: Our God doth undertake
To guide the future, as You have the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
Your voice Who ruled them while You dwelt below.”

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart, And all is darkened in the vale of tears, 

Then shalt we  better know Your love, Your heart,
Who comes to soothe our sorrow and our fears.

“Dear Lord, comfort the downcast with Your Spirit, we draw near.”

“Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with You Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.”

Dear Father in heaven, we bow our heads together. The most important change that needs be, is that which must be done, inside of me.

Increase my faith, that I might stand, and follow You, as You take hold of my hand:

“Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing,  You, O Lord on high; to
Acknowledge You in all our words and ways,
So shall You  view us with a well-pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Son of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.”

Today. Today! This is what You have given us. Teach us to pray. To talk with You the words of this hymn rather than complaint. Be merciful to us.

Teach us to trust.

Help us to take hold of You – who are Love, and let go of all lust. Let us put off the fight, and the anger, and the strife …

and let us make harmony as we sing Your melody throughout the rest of our life.

We bow our heads, we pray to You. We end our words  and whole heartedly say:  “Our soul is still, as we set our minds on the hill, where You laid down Your life, as a perfect sacrifice, forgiving my failures, Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You.

(1) “Be Still My Soul” by Katherine von Schlegel. 

What is Lovely? Who is the same?

“Lovely” is a term that might seem to be going out of style. But there are some things that are truly “lovely.” Like beautiful weather in the course of a day, or a flower, either wild or grand.

Or perhaps some might think a vacation or delicious dessert. Or for others,  “lovely” brings about noble thoughts, such as Manners matter, Character counts.

Today, my word is “lovely.” In whose eyes do I care to be? Do I care to be “lovely” to God today, or other people, or just me.

Merriam-Webster concludes: Definition of lovely, lovelierloveliest

  1. obsolete :  lovable

  2.   delightful for beauty, harmony, or grace :  attractive She looks lovely in that dress.

  3.   grand, swell what a lovely morning

  4.   eliciting love by moral or ideal worth A lovely woman who loves him for himself, not for his money.

    This can be disheartening. I’m just not “lovely” at best.

     But when I think about my Father in heaven, Whom I believe cares and is aware. And I think about the mess we’ve made as a whole human race. This great earth He designed that we might enjoy and have peace. But we fell with the first.

    But God made way that we may be made new by the last.

    He is all together lovely.

    He came. He died. He rose. Even when no one takes notice, He still delivers a gorgeous rose, and the morning dew, and early birds that sing.

    To think that God gave Himself in exchange for my shame. To think that He gave His only begotten Son, even if it were only me.

    To think that He loves. He bears all things.

    Oh, that we wouldn’t worry about being “right.”

    That instead we would learn more of harmony and grace.

    If we would invest time in knowing God, and asking Him plainly to show us His Son.

    Lovely is what we would find, bottom line. He is all together lovely. For all time.

    What is lovely?

    Making Jesus mine.

    “Please God help me slow down to sing.”

    From hectic to gentle with my eyes on God. He is gracious, compassionate. He is the Lord God Almighty.

    That my main “fear” would be to offend Him.

    Today, let us chose to move in a way that might be lovely. In the sight of God, and not worry first of the thoughts of man.

    Lovely would be, if with God, I would, you would, the whole of creation, would all agree.

    I pray that you and me together might choose to bring more harmony and grace to the very rooms we walk.

that we might experience “lovely” in a new and special way . . .
and  perhaps overflow some “lovely” fragrance in our earthly place.

“My dear friend, when grief presses you to the dust, worship there!”

“My dear friend, when grief presses you to the dust, worship there!”

C.H. Spurgeon wrote these words. These words were penned and written among a field of thousands of sermons. These gems are gleaned and shared for you and me in the book: Beside Still Waters, Words of Comfort for the Soul,C.H. Spurgeon/ Editor Roy H. Clarke.

When I was in great need of comfort, a friend sent me this book. For this I am forever grateful. God was watching over me. He is always in control. Old words written were now opened to help restore my soul.

Thoughts run here, there, and everywhere – especially when one is going through a crisis-and there are times when we need Help from Someone to lead us “beside still waters.” (Psalm 23).

I share words that have been written many years past:

“My dear friend, when grief presses you to the dust, worship there! Remember David’s words, ‘Pour out your heart.’ But do not stop there; finish the quotation. “Pour out your heart before Him.” Turn your heart upside down, empty it, and let every drop run out. “Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8).(Beside Still Waters, pg.49, Yet Will I Trust Him)

Spurgeon continues: “When you are bowed down beneath a heavy burden of sorrow, worship and adore God there. In full surrender to His divine will, say with Job, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him” (Job 13:15). This kind of worship subdues the will, arouses the affections, stirs the whole mind, and presents you to God in solemn consecration…”

This last sentence, I circled with stars and even wrote it again at the bottom of the page: “This worship sweetens sorrow and takes away its sting.”

So, in turn, Spurgeon encouraged me to run to the songs.

I received air in my lungs and breath again from words of an old hymn. I opened to the light “Be Still My Soul.”

Worship Him there, in restlessness and pain. Worship Him and speak aloud, “Be still my soul.”

“Be still my soul. The Lord is on Thy side, bear patiently, the cross of grief or pain. Leave to Thy God, to order and provide. In every change, He faithful will remain. Be still my soul, thy Best and Heavenly Friend -through thorny ways- leads to a joyful end.”( Katherina A. von Schlegel 1752).

It’s the books that refresh. Not a shopping trip or vacation. It’s old words on some pages. It’s the word of God and hymns and devotional phrases.

The old words. I opened them up. And today, let us open them again. Let us read aloud hymns and devotions and be lifted up. At a turn of the page, I share another hymn:

 I Will arise and Go to Jesus.

” Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, Weak and wounded, sick and sore; Jesus ready stands to save you, Full of pity, love and pow’r.

A devotional and hymn book are a living remedy to a broken heart. Words that live begin to remind me, it might not be well with my life or my even my broken heart, but because the Lord loves me,

“It is Well With My soul.”

God, the Creator, the Lover of my soul – He is in control. The words remind me what I had forgot:

“When Satan does buffet, and trials do come. Let this blessed assurance control: That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and He’s shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well with my soul.

 It is well, it is well with my soul.” 

Oh how words comfort and restore. Yesterday, today, and until the final test. God has not left us, He draws near. His word and the hymns caress.

“When grief presses you to the dust, worship Jesus there!

Thank you C.H. Spurgeon for reminding me that “This worship sweetens sorrow and takes away the sting.”

“The Lord is my strength and my song, and He is become my salvation!”(Exodus 15:2).

Let us go on, with our eyes up, not out on the broken horizon, and let us sing a song that will carry our heavy feet onward.

It might not be well with our circumstances and our hearts, but in Jesus, He’s covered us and washed us and loved us complete. We can take a breath, and bring a sacrifice of sound and sing, “It is well, it is well with my soul.

Fact, not feelings: “As thy day, thy strength shall be”

Feelings aren’t facts. But they are very real.

Feelings can whirl with tornado-type style. They make havoc of the present moments and solid things even fly wild.

Based on facts of circumstances and realities in this life, our hearts become ripped up in the midst of overwhelming feelings.

But all the while, one thing remains, though we can’t feel Him,

Jesus Christ stays.

We leave.

We mis-perceive.

But He’s present. God doesn’t change.

“Afflicted soul, to Jesus dear, Thy Savior’s gracious promise hear; His faithful word declares to thee That, “as thy day, thy strength shall be.” 

“Let not thy heart despond, and say, How shall I stand the trying day? He has engaged, by firm decree, That, “as thy day; thy strength shall be.”  (Poem found in CH Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible, p.142, based on Deuteronomy 22:35).

“Why should I continue to read,”some will say in the midst of the storm, “Why do you state that Jesus is God? Why does Jesus have to be in the mix? I can do fine with just God in all this.”

Others will say, “I need a lot more than Jesus right now. Get out! I really don’t want to hear you right now!”

The fact remains, God stays the same. Whether we believe or not – Jesus loves, period. You are precious, period. Yesterday this was true. Today this fact stands. Forever, He is God.

God is love.

Can we come close to understand?

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. Words breathed from God in the Old Testament persuading, but not only that, these living words provide peace that’s alive. Living bread for a hungry soul.

Comfort true. Comfort whole.

“Let not thy heart despond, and say, How shall I stand the trying day? He has engaged, by firm decree, That, “as thy day; thy strength shall be.”  

“Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.” These are verses from the Living Word. When the Book is open to Deuteronomy. Chapter 33:25, and by chance one will open the dull looking Book, only to discover precious breath within each word.

For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.“Deuteronomy 32:47.

As thy day, thy strength shall be . . .”  Will you believe?

Abide in Me.

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,

 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord

and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:1-6.

Who was it that came down and rebuked the winds and the sea became sound?

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.  Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him! (Matthew 8:23-27).

“Afflicted soul, to Jesus dear, Thy Savior’s gracious promise hear; His faithful word declares to thee That, “as thy day, thy strength shall be.” 

“Let not thy heart despond, and say, How shall I stand the trying day? He has engaged, by firm decree, That, “as thy day; thy strength shall be.”  

 

God Calls a Meeting

I wrote a piece yesterday for our Word Weaver’s (of Lexington) Meeting in the evening. I called it “A Child Can Teach Many Things.” After time with other writers and gentle critique, I share with you ideas in editing, so you might be encouraged to join us once a month that the words God has put on your heart would be written and shared. And God is in control of all that happens through the process.

God calls a meeting.

He’s tugging at my heart.

I’m hungry. I’m tired. My tapestry is unraveling.

I’m seeking, but not finding. There’s a Dead End again.

Where is this place of meeting? Does my heart yearn to go?

My thinking goes amiss. I think, “Before the meeting, I have to do this.”

“I have to get rid of that, but I can’t. I can’t. Or maybe, it’s more like, . . . I won’t.”

Is this how we think? Do we believe, “God doesn’t want to  meet with me, I’m way too lost. I’ve gone too far.”

God calls a meeting, time and time again. Do I continue to run the other way?

Do our minds spin out of control?

God saw me running. So He brought me a 3 year old. To simply watch and listen.

A child’s smile, the skip, the joy, the love. How we’re always changing, but some things never change.

As I was watching a child at play, it was like a first day of spring. It was like a sky with fun, puffy clouds.

I was running from God, so He brought me a child. So I could see with my eyes, something I knew of before. Of forgiveness and grace, gentleness, and noise. Of making a mess, but having a second chance – of two sides of a coin.

God called a meeting and I kept putting it off, until He brought a child in my view.

I heard the song coming from their heart during play, “A,B, C, D . . .” So accomplished and confident. So, I broke in and asked, “What’s your favorite song?”

She began to sing: “Jesus loves me . . .”

I watched a tender faith. I witnessed a confident trust. I knew these words. They were hidden deep down in my heart.

“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

My heart was pierced, that very moment. I forgot what was true.

I forgot what I knew.

As sheep often do.

I left from following the Shepherd. I thought I had to “plow on through.” By myself. On my own.

I became like the prodigal. Hungry, far. With pig slop for food. It was when that child sang,  “Jesus loves, . . . ” That I heard, “Remember Me.”

The child sang, “this I know . . .”

My thought, “No, I don’t know anymore.”

The Lord kept His appointment. He spoke:  “Remember Me.”

Gentle and kind. God used a little child to remind. To remind me it’s not “Do this.” “Don’t do that.”

Simply, “Jesus loves.”

How I forgot.

So, I turned around that moment. That moment was new. Because, in my heart, instead of my back, I turned to face the Lord. Inside my heart was bursting.

I held it all in, but, if I didn’t I would have a face filled with tears.

Immediately, . . .

I felt hope.

Out of a child’s praise, I remembered God’s amazing grace.

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, . . .” Jeremiah 29:12-14. 

See God's Hand

God calls a meeting.

He’s tugging at my heart.

I’m hungry. I’m tired. My tapestry is unraveling.

I’m seeking, but not finding. There’s a Dead End again.

Where is this place of meeting? Does my heart yearn to go?

My thinking goes amiss. I think, “Before the meeting, I have to do this.”

“I have to get rid of that, but I can’t. I can’t. Or maybe, it’s more like, . . . I won’t.”

Is this how we think? Do we believe, “God doesn’t want to  meet with me, I’m way too lost. I’ve gone too far.”

God calls a meeting, time and time again. Do I continue to run the other way?

Do our minds spin out of control?

God saw me running. So He brought me a 3 year old. To simply watch and listen.

A child’s smile, the skip, the joy, the love. How we’re always…

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So much in His Name

If we hear, “Hey you,” in a crowd. We might not even turn our head. But when one calls, “Toni,” It might not mean much to some, but I stop and look around.

God hears. God turns. He’s not far, as often supposed. Especially when our hearts think on all He is, all His nature, His names. And past understanding is a peace that comes when we speak them aloud, God’s names, and nature. Oh, how our hearts yearn.

Our heart’s yearn for “our Father in heaven.” Does He hear? Does He care? How our minds need focus. In this day of distraction and busy-ness. We forget Who God is.

He is here. He is there.

I opened a treasure of a book of hymns and their stories, and was touched by the hymn, Join All the Glorious Names.

Robert J. Morgan in his Then Sings My Soul, Volume 2, shared in the pages a story of Isaac Watts and his hymn, but not only that,

Robert J. Morgan added more verses to the “all Glorious Names” hymn. I was struck by the comfort reading a portion of the names. God grew in size, above all my trials and life’s stings.

But before I share the glorious words of Watts’ Hymn, and Morgan’s added stanzas, I have to say, as I had the pages open, I saw at the bottom, on the right hand side, an “often omitted” verse from the hymnals today:

Be Thou my Couselor/ My Pattern, and my Guide/ And through this desert land/ Still keep me near Thy side/ Nor let my feet e’er run astray/ Nor rove nor seek the crooked way.”

Is this the prayer that you needed words for today? If so, pray them over and over again. Let us “speak” in a hymn today.

So, join with me now. When we can, we’ll even read aloud. And let our faith grow and rise high as the clouds:

“Join all the glorious names/ Of wisdom, love and pow’r/ That ever mortals knew, That angels ever bore/ All are too mean to speak His worth, Too poor to set my Savior forth.” ( Isaac Watts).

“The Babe of Bethlehem, the Faithful Witness/ He Is the first and last, was dead, now lives to set us free./ He washed our sins. He is the King, the Lord, the Word, to Him we sing.” (Robert J. Morgan).

“Alpha, Omega He, One like the Son of Man, Arrayed in light/ He reigned before the world began. He was, and is, and is to come/ our Glorious Lord, God’s only Son.” (Robert J. Morgan).

So I conclude, with a heart full and calm, “Jesus, Jesus. That all may hear. That all may see. That hearts soften soon and call on Your Name.”

“Amen, and Amen. Lord, You are coming back soon.”