Have I forgotten, the horse goes before the cart?

The horse precedes the cart. Does it not? If it’s to move forward it must.

Am I guilty of putting the cart before the horse? Am I am guilty of lifting my hands in praise to my God, yet often forgetting to remember He is Holy. He is Just.

Have I forgotten? He knows every thought in my heart.

Do I come through God’s doors seeking blessing and peace? And yet expect perfection from others, not trusting, making lists of their wrongs, and then come to praise God, lift my hands. What is it I seek?

Our Father who is in Heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Do I even come close to understand the words I’m saying?

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors.

We all have debts, we all have debtors. God knows this world is hard and painful, but He breathed out His letters.

“As we have forgiven our debtors.” This is the method Jesus instructed we pray.  How sharp, and at the same time grace-full; instruction and warning yet, “always believing.” This the Lord’s, (not man’s) way. “Help my perceiving.”

I have forgiven. I have spent time in prayer. God knows I have, but then, am I being tempted that I haven’t?

The battle is great, my constitution weak: And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil.” (1)

I won’t for a minute longer try to celebrate the joy of the Lord, until I have first come, asking mercy, with a heart ready for surgery from His Word.

I come to the cross. Drawing near to God. He laid down His life. He took all my sin—my ugliness, my strife.

I must not worry about what others think,  I must first come to Jesus, and be willing to hear Him speak.

Tempted to run, but right here I’ll stay. Today must be a day of atonement for me.  To be at-one-with-God. To know Him and His love and His compassionate, gracious way.

So I look up atonement, and let God’s Word (and Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible on Leviticus 23), speak.

The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves,  and present an offering made to the LORD . . .
A time to be sorry for sin. For looking . . . in.
But then on the same page, in the same chapter and all, is a feast, a celebration, a joyous time. I continue to read in Spurgeon’s Devotional,
So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; . . . On the first day you are to take choice fruit from the trees, and palm fronds, leafy branches . . . and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.

 

Sorrow for sin is the “horse” so to speak. The horse must precede the cart, or nothing gets moving.

Sorrow for sin is the hallway I must go through, before I enter the room of atonement. “If sin is sweet to my tastebuds and life, I will miss completely at-one-ment with Christ.”

The horse precedes the cart. This is the only way to move forward. This day of mourning and sadness for sin, leads on to gladsome feast and in the Lord, great rejoicing.

No work of mine. Not one thing I can do. Jesus did the work for me. And He paid it in full . . . for you.

We’ve all been broken. We’ve all fallen. We so often miss the mark. But He’s risen and alive! The day of atonement must come first. But then the joy of the Lord will move the cart.

Daily let us come to the cross and seek His grace. Receiving and believing, this moment, then . . . we wash the tears from our face.

Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible brought insight for this blog. Feb. 24—Evening, Leviticus XXIII.

(1) Matthew 6:9-13

 

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Tune me Lord, again and again . . .

“Tune it up. It’s flat.”

When an instrument’s out of tune, it  brings about a stop. Before moving on, it’s got to be tuned.

So, with a turn of a peg, or a bit more complicated maneuver, an instrument is brought back to position, that harmony may once again be brought to the ear.

If it were only that easy for the human race.

Our hearts go out of tune. Sometimes by our own hard strums, but also by outward bumps and hits.

But who can tune a heart?

We try, and we fail. The task is too hard.

Words were penned way back in 1757. Robert Robinson wrote a familiar hymn. A turning of the head, can prove to any stubborn heart—remedy and hope for today.

Read aloud, or sung alone, there’s something supernatural when we desperately need a new tune.

Let it go, and let the sound out.  Speak with me old words, that perhaps they are our help to turn our head and tune our heart.

Come Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace

Streams of mercy, never ceasing/Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet/Sung by flaming tongues above

Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it

Mount of Thy unchanging love

A battle rages.  Our eyes haven’t been fixed upon the mount. We forgot that with God, streams of mercy never cease. Our eyes haven’t sung melodious psalms. We forgot that unlike any man, God’s has unchanging love.

 Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” Luke 22:31,32. Were these words written today of our reality?

The hymn. The hymn. Let’s remind ourselves of God’s faithful presence and peace:

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here there by Thy great help I’ve come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

When we look back, we can see His faithful hand. We’ve been carried to this place. He will lead us safely home.

How can we become strangers again to the One who watches us so.  But He waits and loves, though we’ve chosen to be separate for a time. He knows.

Our hearts can’t believe in any love like this. The hymn. This hymn, our remedy, God’s bliss:

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that grace now, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

God, help us!  Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.

Here is the turn that will bring back the harmony again:

“Here’s my heart Lord,

take,

and seal it,

seal it for Thy courts above.”

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” Luke 22:31,32. 

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).

 

 

A Salvation Story. Do I come out of the rain?

God holds the Umbrella that I come out of the rain.

Why the struggle? Why the delay?

God holds the Umbrella. He cares about me.

Did I forget? Or did I simply leave?

Do I find contentment in lies that bring strife? Am I choosing to destroy my very own life?

Can I make the choice to step out of the comforts of despair?

Or do I keep my head down on the puddles, believing lies of being victim. Staying, pitifully there.

He bids me with thunder and lightning to fear and to look. In the Light, through the flash,

I see the hand of His Son.

It’s reached out towards me.

Then I see His face.

His eyes, . . .

are grace.

He calls my name. I hear the words,”Come.” 

Directly in my heart, I feel Him look.

Burning.

Revelation comes, Truth is alive.

He waits.

Immediately, there’s strength that wasn’t there.  Hope to lay down the shame. To cast off the pain.

God is offering me to come out of the rain.

Again, He calls my name.

Do I receive Him and take hold of His hand?

Why is it so hard? Why would I choose to stay out in the cold? To reject the dance. To stay wet in distress?

In an instant I choose.

I lift my eyes to meet His.

In an instant my garments are made new. Gloriously cleansed. I take hold of His hands. With all of my being, I know at last, I have found Love. He loved me first.

He desires me.

The rain is still falling, but I don’t even care. Because Love has captured all of my being. Love has called me. He has lifted me up.

I turn to kiss His cheek. He smiles.

He is pleased.

Everything new, everything possible, we dance, and we dance under the grand Umbrella. The canopy of protection, with a symphony of grace.  As it rains,  Love and I look face to face.

With a long-lost song that returns in my heart, I will sing as I dance, and make day of the night.

United sound brings a sweet fragrance/ Amazing Grace

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

“Ouch!”

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

Yet,”For God so loves the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Finally, joy has come to this world of mine …

Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing. O how the familiar words of Isaac Watts play over again in our minds, but it’s on a glorious moment –

when the dust of our own personal world, and the North wind has blown to make us cold, but we are tired of being broken and alone –

that we invite the King in. That we finally make room for Him.

And the angels in heaven sing. And our eyes suddenly see all of nature, with exotic colors, form and  beauty, form a symphony of song as we walk on our journeys.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy

Finally, when our flesh, says, to the LORD, “Yes.” The words of the hymn come alive. And the word ‘joy’ has meaning for the very first time. Deliverance comes when the fight finally ends. When the Savior at last, has the reins of our soul, and a miracle I witness, as I feel my world – whole.

Joy has finally come into my world, because room as been made, that the Great Surgeon can cut away, the hardness of heart, the criticalness:

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love;
And wonders of His love;
And wonders, …

the wonder of His love for me, who, for so long refused to see – His truth, His grace, … His beautiful life He gave.  Joy to my world has come, with each new day, with each new breath.

Will you join my joyful chorus as well, and of the King and His greatness tell? We would sing together a joyful song:  “Joy has come to this world of mine. I will sing of my King for all – of  – time.”

 

 

Tune me again Lord, and again . . .

“Tune it up. It’s flat.”

When an instrument’s out of tune, it  brings about a stop. Before moving on, it’s got to be tuned.

So, with a turn of a peg, or a bit more complicated maneuver, an instrument is brought back to position, that harmony may once again be brought to the ear.

If it were only that easy for the human race.

Our hearts go out of tune. Sometimes by our own hard strums, but also by outward bumps and hits.

But who can tune a heart?

We try, and we fail. The task is too hard.

Words were penned way back in 1757. Robert Robinson wrote a familiar hymn. A turning of the head, can prove to any stubborn heart—remedy and hope for today.

Read aloud, or sung alone, there’s something supernatural when we desperately need a new tune.

Let it go, and let the sound out.  Speak with me old words, that perhaps they are our help to turn our head and tune our heart.

Come Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace

Streams of mercy, never ceasing/Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet/Sung by flaming tongues above

Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it

Mount of Thy unchanging love

A battle rages.  Our eyes haven’t been fixed upon the mount. We forgot that with God, streams of mercy never cease. Our eyes haven’t sung melodious psalms. We forgot that unlike any man, God’s has unchanging love.

 Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” Luke 22:31,32 speaks clearly words that we feel are our reality.

The hymn. The hymn. Let’s remind ourselves of God’s faithful presence and peace:

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here there by Thy great help I’ve come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

Our hearts can’t believe in any love like this. So we will continue to read aloud, our remedy, God’s bliss:

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that grace now, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

God, help us!  Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.

Here is the turn that will bring back the harmony again:

“Here’s my heart Lord,

take,

and seal it,

seal it for Thy courts above.”

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” Luke 22:31,32. 

7th Century BC words…timeless, and written for today!

This is my prayer for all the children of the world, red, brown, yellow black, and white for they are all precious in His sight… today, yes today,… leaving the past behind, and the fears of tomorrow blind-that we choose to take a breath right now –

whether we can pay the electric bill or not, or whether the love of your life is fighting to live, perhaps you are alone so much of the time, or you are searching for work at this very time- no mater the circumstance,… ‘whatever befall’-

that we would surrender our hearts and our minds for even just a moment and let the Good Lord be our only Vision.   The Father in Heaven will give  you His ear, God’s word is True: “Draw near to God, and He’ll draw near to you.”(James 4:8).

Take a breath and speak or even sing, these timeless words written for you and me  – way back in the 7th Century BC. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy, make the choice to ‘put a new song in your mouth’, Psalm 40 verse 3! Just ‘do it’ and find the our Lord is Faithful and Able and Present at THIS time! He inhabits hearts that praise hIm, let us choose to PRAISE and give Him the whine!

God is Good, and He’s knows your name.Let us take a breath and speak words that change- sad hearts and weak knees to hope and strength and …peace:

“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 wisdom, and 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!”

“Be Thou my battle-shield. Sword for my fight! Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight. 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!”

High King of Heaven, my victory won! May I reach heaven’s joys, bright heaven’s SON! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall…Still be my Vision, O Ruler of All!”

A hymn, and a Psalm…yes, this is the remedy for CALM:

Psalm 40. For the choir director: A psalm of David.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.

Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
    who have no confidence in the proud
    or in those who worship idols.
O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
    Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
    You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
    I would never come to the end of them.

You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
    Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand[a]
    you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
Then I said, “Look, I have come.
    As is written about me in the Scriptures:
I take joy in doing your will, my God,
    for your instructions are written on my heart.”

I have told all your people about your justice.
    I have not been afraid to speak out,
    as you, O Lord, well know.
10 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;
    I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
I have told everyone in the great assembly
    of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
    Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles surround me—
    too many to count!
My sins pile up so high
    I can’t see my way out.
They outnumber the hairs on my head.
    I have lost all courage.

13 Please, Lord, rescue me!
    Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
14 May those who try to destroy me
    be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble
    be turned back in disgrace.
15 Let them be horrified by their shame,
    for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”

16 But may all who search for you
    be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
    repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”
17 As for me, since I am poor and needy,
    let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.
You are my helper and my savior.
    O my God, do not delay.

Yes, we can say, “He has put a new song in my heart! I am changed for this moment. And then when I get fretful again, “Dear Lord, Be Thou my Vision, …time and time again!