Child of weakness, watch Me and be changed

“I hear the Savior say,
Thy strength indeed is small,
child of weakness
Watch and Pray-
find in Me – thine all in all.”

“I hear the Savior say,…”

What is it that I hear the Savior say today?

Through the years, words I have memorized:

“I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5.

“I am the Lord… (You are ) precious in my sight… and I have loved you.” Is. 43:3,4.

I also hear exhortations speak to me,

“Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Ephesians 5:14.

Child of weakness, watch and pray.  Find in Me, thine all in all.

Voices in my heart, “You don’t have what it takes.”

“Give up now. You  don’t . . . have . . .”

This is a fight for my heart and my mind. To know what’s true and what’s a devil’s lie.

I can’t see anything at all. But I will sing the old words.

” . . . Thy strength indeed is small, child of weakness watch and pray. Find in Me, thine all in all.

Hear Me, God draws me near. Hear Me, listen, now.  Today.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving -kindness.

I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel.

Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful . . .

Come, let us go up to Zion to the LORD our God.” Jeremiah 31:3,4.

“Jesus paid it all!
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain – He washed it white as snow!”

I hear my Comforter minister to me with thoughts of peace, and rest, and truth. This is hope. I can hear Him say, . . .

With hope, you will not be ashamed in My name. Your enemy desires that you lose hope.

Hope in Me, I am your God, and I with you.

Let My rod and My staff comfort you my dear lamb.

I have laid down My life for the sheep.

I am Jesus. Call Me by name, and I will answer you. I have prayed for you.”

So I choose. I will sing. These words are mine. I will sing and rejoice, for He, the Lord God Almighty, is mine:

“Lord, now indeed I find, Thy power and Thine alone, can change a lepers heart and melt a heart of stone.”

“Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain
He Washed it White as Snow!”

I pray to my God who is Life everlasting. Let me be abounding in Spirit.Give me a deep, solid joy. If you abide and dwell in praise and thankfulness, let me take a breath and rest in Your holiness.

“And now before the Throne, I stand in Him completeJesus died my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat,

“Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain
He Washed it White as Snow.

 

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Move the strings, let the voice ring

The battle is raging. This life oft times feels as war.

At times in our houses. In our schools and our work.  War-torn like pictures in our news in the town.

Discovery of tumors and cancers, in cells all around. Our hearts grow weary, and broken. We cry in sleepless nights, “O Lord God in heaven, We cry mercy. Can You see, we are weak for the fight.”

But we’ve been taught, as a child and again, “The Word. The Word. There is power and hope in the words within. So my fingers open up to Psalm 18, near the middle in my bible, and I pray, “Dear God speak life in this body of mine. I need You right now. Give me a song in exchange for this whine.”

 “Blessed be the LORD my Rock who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle, I will meditate on these verses, because victory is God’s,   ‘He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze…’

Let us choose this moment, this day in time, to take a breath and put vibration on the strings that are mine, and yours if you will, let us sing praises to God. Praise goes before the battle. And the battle is His, and He loves us for all time.

“Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle-” (Ps. 144:1).

“He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze…” (Ps. 18:34).

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so ...” What is the Bible telling me? ‘The LORD trains my hands for war?’ “Oh God, what do these words mean for me? As I take time to sit at Your word and read?

“The LORD my Rock trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle?” ‘Psalm 18 verse 34, to the Chief Musician…’ – Lord, that is You.  “…with my stringed instruments …” I ask that You give me understanding through and through!

To the Chief Musician with my stringed instruments…” with my stings, O LORD, I will sing. I will sing praise to You in the battle I’m in.  I will, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (1)

We are each in ‘personal wars!’ But, ‘blessed be the LORD my Rock who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle, I will meditate on these verses, because victory is Gods.

Let us choose this moment, this day in time, to take a breath and put vibration on the strings that are mine, and yours if you will, let us sing praises to God. 

Praise goes before the battle. And the battle is His, and He loves us for all time.

Pick up the strings, in your voice or the keys, or the guitar, the mandolin, or even  ukulele. There is power in praise. God says, we  can ‘bend a bow of bronze’

 Somehow, God in His merciful kindness, gives us grace for the moment, and He bring peace that passes all understanding, when we ‘sing a new song!’

“To You, O God, we worship, we sing. We give to You our everything – all our trials, all our pain, all our sickness, yes, even our shame. Dear Jesus, we praise Your name because You have died and risen again. Yes, dear Jesus, we bring our ‘sacrifice of praise.’

“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vine; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food;… Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (2) This is what I will choose to do.

Will you join me and bring a ‘sacrifice of praise’…

to Jesus and make Him LORD this day?  That we might rejoice and sing His song and watch Him, ‘bend the bow of bronze’!

Let God know if this is your choice, talk to Him, let Him hear your beautiful voice. And even if the notes aren’t all right, He hears them perfect and lovely and melodiously bright! “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible… tells me so!”

(1) Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

(2) Habakuk 3:18

O Lord, may our consolation be speaking the hymn, Nearer, My God, to Thee

Let us pour out our broken and sad hearts to You. Our lips are parched, we thirst. Be to us as the morning dew:

Near-er, my God, to Thee, Near-er to Thee, E’en though it be a cross That rais-eth me! Still all my song shall be, Near-er, my God, to Thee; Near-er, my God, to Thee,

Near-er to Thee!

“Speak in Psalms, speak in hymns,” perhaps this is our only consolation in,

pain, and suffering, and agony of spirit. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near,”(1) this is our prayer, that we feel Your love and not the fear.

Though like the wan-der-er, The sun gone down, Dark-ness be o-ver me, My rest a stone; Yet in my dreams I’d be, Near-er, my God, to Thee; Near-er, my God, to Thee,

Near-er to Thee!

Oh God, help us let our thoughts rise to heaven. “For we know that if this tent which is our earthly home is destroyed, we have from God a building, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2)

There let the way ap-pear, Steps un-to heav’n; All that Thou send-est me, In mercy giv’n An-gels to beck-on me, Near-er, my God, to The; Near-er, my God, to Thee, 

Near-er to Thee!

“In everything give thanks,” (3) 

O God, we can’t without You showing us, revealing to us, healing and carrying us through.

God, You are love. You are light. We are poor and needy, Lord Jesus come rescue us in our plight.

We worship You because You loved us first. You suffered and died for each one of us as you hung in the cross.

 Then, with my wak-ing tho’ts Bright with Thy praise, Out of my ston-y griefs Beth-el I’ll raise, So by my woes to be, Near-er to God, to Thee; Near-er to God, to Thee,

Near-er to Thee!

Your word is sweet as honey sometimes. Your word is bitter as well. Help change and transform our hearts and our minds. That we might” prove what is the good and acceptable will of God,” (4) that we might say, ” I am Yours. No matter what, I will trust in Your Love.”

 Or if, on joy-ful wing Cleav-ing the sky, Sun, moon, and stars forgot, Up-ward I fly, Still all my song shall be, Near-er my God, to Thee, 

Still all my song shall be, Near-er my God, to Thee, Near-er to Thee.

Our song is sad in light of today, but God, only You are able to comfort our pain, with word pictures of life forever with You. . . 

With streets of gold, praises to sing,  in the presence of the King of all Kings, for all eternity.

We sing a psalm. We speak a hymn. Or perhaps we simply cry, in hope and the light of Him. 

 

(1) James 4:8

(2) 2 Corinthians 5:1

(3) 1 Thessalonians 5:18

(4) Romans 12:2

Nearer, My God, to Thee (Sarah F. Adams 1840).

 

A change of perspective

The media points out destruction and pain with pictures of loss, and sadness. O, how our hearts break.

O, the mysteries.

Could it be that God allows these trials to gather His lonely people together, to pour out His grace. God’s ways are true and righteous altogether.

How our hearts are touched with each story of rescue. The sacrificial care given, the present provision. How mankind moves to help the hurting, to provide counsel for the broken hearted, to bring water to the thirsty.

Shelters are opened, people open their doors, meals are prepared, work crews move, and so much more . . .

How our hearts are ultimately touched  . . . by God:

Gather together to Me My saints [those who have found grace in My sight], those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. And the heavens declare His righteousness — rightness and justice; for God, He is judge. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! Psalm 50:5,6, Amplified.

Perhaps a Psalm, or words of an old hymn strike a chord of calm, and quiet within. Circumstances don’t change. Days are still troublesome and hard. But there has been an exchange.

The fret and anxiety has been given over to Him . . . Have we been seeking Him? His face? His daily word?

The mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and calls the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. 

Our God comes, and does not keep silence; a fire devours before Him, and round about Him a mighty tempest rages. (Psalm 50: 1-3 Amplified)

The Word of God instructs. The Word speaks. The Word helps our hard hearts and blind eyes to see.

He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that He may judge His people: Gather together to Me  My saints . . .

Hear, O My people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify to you and agains you; I am God, your God . . . Offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving; and pay your vows to the Most High, And call on Me in the day of trouble . . . (Psalm 50: 7,14).

I will deliver you, and you shall honor and glorify Me . . .” (Psalm 50: 15).

And so I train my hands for war, so to speak, and open an old hymn of Fanny Crosby:

Pass me not, O gentle Savior; Hear my humble cry! While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.

Let me at Thy throne of mercy Find a sweet relief; Kneeling there in deep contrition, Help my unbelief.

Trusting only in Thy merit, Would I seek Thy face, Heal my wound-ed bro-ken spirit Save me by Thy grace. 

Thou, the Spring of all my comfort, More than life to me! Whom have I on earth beside Thee? Whom in heaven but Thee?

Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry! While on others Thou art calling. do not pass me by. (Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior, Fanny J. Crosby)

The Psalms turn around my thinking. The hymns give me cleansing words as I pray with hope to believe.

Let us praise God in the darkness. Let us praise God in the storm. Let us have thankful hearts that God finds us worthy, to be a light in the night, as we wait together for morn’.

Let us proclaim the Comfort He has brought us. He has renewed, refreshed. He has made us Re-born! toni

 

 

Experiencing Great Deliverance

When the goal for the day is two part:

(1) Fix your eyes on your Savior

(2) Keep your feet at the foot of the cross.

Time often moves through bringing momentary stress and loss. Loss of energy and strength, vitality and vigor—

but God has a remedy to overcome . . . it’s not a caffein loaded latte or a break on social media. It’s . . .

a breath, a thought about a good report, and Praise. Yes, Praise to the LORD.

“Believe in the LORD your God,” Jehoshaphat the king stood and said. And they rose early in the morning,” 2 Chronicles 20:20 also remarks. Yes, they all had risen from bed (!)

“Believe in the LORD your God, so shall you be established;” 2 Chronicles 20 proclaims, and “so shall you prosper,” . . . ‘believe his prophets.”

Do we dig and search in the volume of His Book? Do we obey His voice. Do we believe His Word?

Jehoshaphat the king, leading his people, consulted with them and appointed singers. Singers of praise. Praising the beauty of God’s holiness, before the battle proclaiming, “Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever.” Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures . . . Praise the LORD, for His mercy.”

Jehoshaphat the king appointed singers to sing.

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the . . .” enemies.

This is recorded in the treasury of the Word.

Stop.

Take notice, . . . “and they were defeated.” 

A remedy of great deliverance from the enemies of our day, is Praise to our God. A march of faith in our advance. A song of praise from our lips, ever loud and strong . . .

especially when the battle rages and proves mighty and long. Is this wisdom for today as we go out before our wilderness?

Victory. Strength for each moment? Let us Praise God and expect great deliverance.

Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.

 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.  And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side, 2 Chronicles 20:27-30.

 

Pulling our treasure from The Church Hymn Book, 1867, page 53

Taking some time each morning to glean from God’s Holy Word and Spurgeon, it seems, that very old words from hymns loudly speak, in language poetic, rich, and . . . timely.

“Great God, I love thy sacred word/ What light and  joy its leaves afford!/Thy precepts guide my doubtful way/Thy fear forbids my feet to stray.

Thy threatenings wake my slumbering eyes/ And warn me where my danger lies;/ They show me all my guilt and shame/ And make me prize the Savior’s name.

May this blest volume ever lie/ Close to my heart and near my eye;/ Till life’s last hour my thoughts engage/ And be my chosen heritage.”

So, in the morning, early and dark, I went digging for treasure that Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible had sparked. I found old words written that made me rejoice in the Lord. The Church Hymn Book from 1867, full of costly treasures, all can afford.

God in the gospel of his Son/ Makes his eternal counsels known;/ Where love in all its glory shines/ And truth is drawn in fairest lines.

Here sinners of an humble frame/ May taste his grace and learn his name./ May read in characters of blood/ The wisdom, power, and grace of God.

Here faith reveals to mortal eyes/ A brighter world beyond the skies;/ Here shines the light which guides our way/ From earth to realms of endless day.

Oh, grant us grace, almighty Lord/ To read and mark thy holy word,/ Its truths with meekness to receive/ And by its holy precepts live.”

Before the words were read this morning, I awoke with struggles and stresses stirring. But God’s breathed out message, and these long lost words, have proved to revive and set me again, on a straight and narrow course.

Let’s open His word. Let’s sing the old songs. Oh God, help us humble ourselves, be teachable, and with joy, carry on!

 

Gifts from God for me, so I could “see”

I walked through the doors of God’s house. I believe in God. I believe in His Word. But times have been hard, (and I’m sure for every single person that walks through those doors), and sometimes,

we just need to see. We are easily led into temptation to lose heart and faith.

But we pray.

I came in fighting a fight to keep faith. Trials were clouding His face. I had been continuously praying, “Our Father, . . . Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, . . . Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Yours in the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. (1)

Well, God knew what was coming, what was ahead. I had no idea, but I had been praying diligently, “Increase my faith. Increase my faith!”

God seemed to be pulling back, causing vision of Him to  cease. Perhaps to allow me to, actually, increase in my faith. God knows what He’s doing. He is still on the Sovereign’s seat. And He wanted to show me,

His presence, and love, and His hand still holding me:

I walk through the doors of church, and standing at a table before service began was Robert J. Morgan, who was the special pastor-teacher to speak.

God knew what this man and his books have meant to me.

God knew that because this man sat and wrote what God gave him and shared it with us in books, that if we choose to take them off the shelf and glean, we might become nourished, refreshed, and actively worshiping our King.

Robert J. Morgan and his Then Sings my Soul, came into the infusion room with me and I read well knows hymns and the stories behind them. Through this book, and the words of the hymns, God brought salvation and hope and worship into the most horrible place anyone would want to go. The infusion room is where cancer patients get their combination, “cocktail,” the nurses call it, but we all know . . .

“poisons” is the better word.

But God was there. And on this day, when hurricane winds were stirring outside in the oceans and inside in many lives, and in my own life, the waters becoming exceedingly high,

Robert J. Morgan spoke. But I first was able to tell him, your book was used by God to open many hearts and eyes.

But not only that, in the worship time, was my song. I have a few, but regarding surviving my cancer fight, this was the one. I had never heard it before in the two years coming through the doors, but today, God was showing me, “Toni, I love you. Don’t lose heart. I am here forevermore.”

So I share with you my song today, because perhaps for you, it has power to save:

When I think about the Lord
How He saved me how He raised me
How He filled me with the Holy Ghost
How He healed me to the uttermost
When I think about the Lord
How He picked me up and turned me around
How He placed my feet on solid ground
It makes me wanna shout

Hallelujah thank You Jesus
Lord You’re worthy of all the glory
And all the honor and all the praise
It makes me wanna shout
Hallelujah thank You Jesus
Lord You’re worthy of all the glory
And all the honor and all the praise(2)

The Lord Jesus is my Rock. He is worthy. When I can’t see Him, He shows me, “I’m still here! Keep your eyes and ears wide open that you don’t miss Me.”

This makes me want to shout, Hallelujah. How about you? Let’s ask for increased faith, and eyes, ears, and hearts open that we don’t miss what He’s showing us.

“Then sings my soul, Hallelujah, Thank You Jesus!”

 

 

 

(1) Matthew 6:9-13

(2) When I Think About The Lord, James Huey
© 1998 CFN Music

Al Braca. A 9/11 hero for all time

See God's Hand

 We need our heroes. Sometimes, it’s simply a story, and they become our hero. Let me introduce to you Al Braca, my 9/11 hero.

On Sept 11, 2001, Al Braca went to work. Just like any other ordinary day. But we all know that in NYC, September 11, 2001 was not an ordinary day.

Alfred J. Braca had an office on the 106th floor of the 110 story World Trade Center Bldg. If you visit the memorial, please look for his name. And then take notice of all the names around his name.

You see, in the 9/11 memorial, the names are not etched in the marble in alphabetical order. Each name is nearby their co-workers and neighboring offices. This information will have significance once you hear his story.

I first must mention, at the onset of sharing about Al on 9/11, is that everyone that knew Al Braca knew…

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September 10th, for us, a gift. A Happy Birthday letter to my first-born son

No words.

Just awe and wonder.

Dear Chris, on your birthday. I remember the moment when you, as a brand new, new-born were handed to me for the very first time.

I will tell you, I had no medication what-so-ever, so when you were handed to me, you were alert and awake, and guess what you did?

You looked right up at me.

Your two little eyes, that could see, but couldn’t in the womb, had now the chance to see, and not just hear, your mama’s voice.

Chris, you looked right at me. I was so surprised.

Surprised isn’t the word.  Awestruck perhaps. I don’t know, but it was that very moment that I realized, you were your own little person. I knew that in my head, but the reality of your amazing-ness caught me off-guard.

You were so miraculous.

And I will tell you today, on your birthday, the first words I said, “Hi, little baby.”

That was it. I was so amazed at you, at God, at the miracle of life.

I love you more than words can say. So much more than that very first day. I love you more and more as the years go on.

Chris, I believe in you.

Your dad and each of your siblings do too. And all the people who spend time with you are touched by your genuine, tender heart. You are a gift to all of us.

We love you so much. Happy Birthday from afar. Hugs and love I pray you can feel, and trust and know that you are a gift. Chris, you’re a gift to us all.

This is the first day of the rest of your life. Sometimes in life, I believe we all feel we are Charlie Brown.

Remember at Halloween, when every time he came to a house, he moaned, “I got a rock.” Well, I love this picture of Charlie Brown the best, because maybe he received some “rocks’ in his life, but here, he’s the one with the answer to life.

I give you a gift today of my heart filled to overflowing with love and hope and belief of all things—for you. I pray you feel loved so abundantly today, and everyday.

And even more than me, Jesus loves you most of all,

mom

 

 

 

 

Title of Art: The Hand of God by Jonathan Rypkema, inspired by God

Quite honestly, I believe God guided, directed, and breathed into my young high schooler’s fingers at the time while he was working on this in his High School art class seven years ago.

Jonathan had not presented me with any art he had completed before this time. (I suppose he felt under the shadow of his older brothers and sister.) However, God had plans.

Two weeks after my diagnosis, and before going in for chemo, this was what he presented to me.

No words. The picture said everything I needed.

Perhaps, today, it says everything you need.

This budding artist wrote later of his   piece,

 “My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, . . . It came as a shock to my whole family. Through these struggles the concept of this piece was discovered. The hand formed by waves is symbolic of the presence of God and how He is there with you through hard times, whether it be sickness or the loss of a loved one.”

This morning, seven years later, I read in my Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible, this poem:

“Our times are in Thy hand. Why should we doubt or fear? 

A Father’s hand will never cause His child a needless tear.

Our times are in Thy hand, Jesus, the Crucified!

 The hand our many sins had pierced is now our guard and guide.

Today, today, let us trust His faithful hand to lead, and guide, and provide as we go our way. Amen, in His name, Amen.