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.”

God Calls a Meeting

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 my face to 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. 

Because You are with me, I will fear no evil.

Well known. A favorite. A familiar comfort of all time. Psalm 23. Could it be the bottom line? The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want . . .

Relationship. Relationship. Relationship. “The Lord is my Shepherd . . .,” emphasis mine. Is He mine? That is the question. Do I live believing words of this kind?

Today can be the first day of the rest of my days. I can decide here and now that He is mine. And I am His.

I acknowledge Him now. He is God. I humble myself that I might agree with Him and believe in His Son.

One time I believe for salvation, but each new day, a choice must be made to trust Him and His direction. 

But the thoughts and emotions from this world’s ills has me spinning so often or paralyzed still.

In the world, so much is wrong and full of pain. We often blame God, and that, for . . . everything. 

But God. What beautiful words.

But God is bigger than all this. He allows things to happen that might make me lie down. 

It’s tragic and horrid, yet God makes me still. With a Psalm most familiar, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul. “

I can’t restore. But, He restores my soul. Let God arise and my mind think straight. Let my heart keep beating in the midst of this world’s craze.

Join me, right now, out of your comfort zone today.  Even in the midst of chaos, confusion, and strife.  Let us recite Psalm 23 aloud now and throughout the day. 

Let familiar words be right on our tongues, that the theme of our day will be, “because You are with me, I will not fear.” Let us overcome!

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever.”

My cup runs over. For You are with me. I am comforted by You in a miraculous way. I am followed by goodness. I’ve been given mercy. I live now in a house of love. 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me.”

This is it- the bottom line. Secure. Faithful. Steadfast for all time.

 

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.”

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.”