What’s our comment? What can we say? When we take time to think on that day

The soldiers led Jesus into the hall, the Praetorium by name. And they called together a band—of mockers and scorners of ridicule and hate.

It’s as if it were staged. The one’s who chose not to believe, shouted with rage.

Oh, that those who believe on His name, would have double the passion to sing aloud their praise.

They clothed him with purple and laid a crown of thorns on His head. The one who it was said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the world’s sins, He sits alone. Misunderstood. With a bleeding head.

He was saluted, “Hail King of the Jews,” as they mocked him on their knees. He was hit, and spat at and whipped with a reed.

Is this what we think of when we read, “Remember Me.”

They took off the purple and put on the plain, then led him out to be crucified. They compelled a foreigner to carry the cross through.

On that note, believer, think it not strange when passing through this foreign land, that we be compelled, to carry a cross too.

But, oh, we do. Oh, yes, we do.

The one’s who chose not to believe, laughed and scorned Him, and brought  horror and shame. Shall we take a minute as we take our next breath, to adore Him and thank Him for enduring such pain.

Jesus was brought to the place, Golgotha. The Place of the Skull was and is it’s reputation. They offered him “wine mingled with myrr” but he refused—He endured to the utmost, the crucifixion.

He was numbered with the transgressors. He was crucified with two thieves. His guiltless name was written with a list of men with wrong-doings.

Yes, this was prophesied hundreds of years before, that this would be.

He bore ridicule from passers-by. He bore mocking from Religious heads. He bore the shouts, “Save, yourself. Come down from the cross.”

What is meekness? What is patience? Let Jesus be our teacher when we find ourselves at a loss!

And “when the sixth hour had come there was darkness over the land.” Noon until three, darkness surrounded. Does God have wisdom and power above what we do and don’t understand?

What were the hearts of men doing then? Some had fear, others—faith. For those who choose faith, let’s bow our heads together, taking time to thank Him for His loving grace.

There’s more to His Story. This is from Mark 15. On the ninth hour, 3:00 in the afternoon, Jesus shouted, “Eloi, Eloi, lama Sabachthani.

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

And He shouted, and we learn from another Gospel the words, “It is finished.” Jesus died on that tree.

And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Impossible with man, but with God—this testimony is true.

A witness, the centurian standing in front of Him during the passion, watched Him as He breathed His last breath, and said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” 

What is our comment? We best consider our reaction.

It might not seem to matter much to us today. But we best take time. To consider. Where. We plan to spend. Our eter-ni-ty.

Taken from Mark 15:16-32 and Isaiah 53

 

Advertisements

Remembering Jenny Part 1

Reasons

Sometimes I wonder why I want to write a book about Jenny. I feel in my heart that I have to. Perhaps the book is just for me. But maybe there’s someone else out there that needs to meet Jenny too. I know I needed her.

How could Jenny become completely paralyzed at only 34 years of age, lose the movement of every part of her body, not even be able to breathe on her own, and have the joy she did and a continuing faith to believe God?

She told me, from the very first day when she didn’t even know what was happening to her, she felt God had told her, “You’ll be able to walk again.”

And she believed those words and held on to them when she couldn’t hold on to anything. But hold on she did. They kept her faith strong even after 5 years of loss upon loss. God allowed us to be friends her last year on this earth, and I witnessed faith in champion proportions.

Do you know what she told me the first time I visited her at her house, while she sat in her chair. She said, “The very first day I was paralyzed, I asked God to help me get out of bed every day.”

I guess that’s why I’ll write the book. Because I need to stop complaining about my nothing in comparison problems, and fall into the temptation to look at mountains of situations, instead of looking to God.

Oh, that I might consistently  think differently. That, no matter what, I would keep my faith and believe God. Day after day, trial after trial, the way Jenny so victoriously did.

Beginnings

Jenny couldn’t hug her girls anymore. She couldn’t do so many things.

The girls were young.

And no-one will know what the Lord did in-and-through her and, for the both of us unless the words are written. God let us be friends.

There were days when, just thinking of her and the extreme challenges she had to face every minute of the day, got me out of bed some mornings.

I had suffered great loss. My heart physically felt it was bleeding. Did we even know that the heart can feel like it’s bleeding.

I needed a hero, a champion. Jenny was all that, but don’t think for a minute that Jenny’s the hero I’m writing about. Right from the start, the hero is God. I cried out to Him and He heard me. He answered prayer by giving me a friend.

I started praying for Jenny years before when on the very same week, on a February of 2008, I had a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. But Jenny became paralyzed, from the neck down within a 24 hour period—quadriplegic.

You better believe I end that sentence with an exclamation point. Jenny also lost the use of her diaphragm, thus preventing her from breathing on her own, causing a continual use of a respirator.

I had nothing to complain about. What is Rheumatoid Arthritis, swelling and pain when moving, to paralysis of every limb and chest.

Debilitating changes

It all happened so quickly. February, 2008 brought change for the both of us, but for Jenny, she couldn’t move anything.

Was sudden paralysis of the spine due to a virus? Did the medical team ever really know? There were so many questions for Jenny, her husband, and her three girls. Questions that couldn’t be answered.

I thought about Jenny every day even though I didn’t know her well when all the changes happened.

I would reach for a cup out of the cupboard after getting up and walking out of bed. Tempted to complain of difficulties of life and my RA pain, which seemed to come so naturally, but then I would stop.

Almost as if I was watching myself from the outside, I would fill the cup with water and give myself a drink, then I would think, . . .  “Remember Jenny.”

A young mom from the Y, with her girls on the same swim team as mine, and all of a sudden, word goes out, “Jenny’s paralyzed.

I was cured. Perspective is everything. I had no problems at all. Zero. None.

I can’t even imagine being 34 years old and not being able to move anything. Prayers went up to God for Jenny everywhere for her girls, her husband, and family.

Day after day.

Month after month.

Year after year.

I am not sure how long she was hospitalized, 8 months and more. And then training and preparation for life as a quadriplegic. A special chair was needed as well as 24/7 home health care. The house had to be renovated for the chair to go up stairs. A new van was purchased. The entire dynamics of the household was forever changed.

And Jenny couldn’t hug her girls anymore.

The girls would always smile when I waved as they walked into swim practice. What a great thing to have a pool to kick off all the stress and hardship of life for an hour. The girls were precious.

I remember watching her blow into a long straw-type tube to move her special wheel chair into the Y. We would have chats now and again.

I asked her, “Jenny, what’s the hardest part of all this?” Putting my hand on her hand. With great effort to catch breath, she answered me,

“People put their hands on my hand. They think they’ve touched me. I can’t feel my hands.”

She couldn’t do anything. Not even breathe on her own. This is more loss than I can comprehend.

Time to say “Thank you Jenny”

Time went on. I had a cancer diagnosis. A cancer fight with the struggles of chemo, surgery, hormone block treatments, the ups the downs, the all-arounds. And I would “remember Jenny.”

November of 2012, and I was driving my kids to school.

This was first year of school for my elementary and middle school aged children. I was a home-educator for 21 years, however the stress involved and the weakness I was dealing with gave way to public education for my kids.

We were in the car and the radio announcer posed a question,

“Is there someone very important in your life, and they might not even know it? Let this Thanksgiving be the time to let them know.”

“Jenny” was my thought.

So I found Jenny’s phone number and I called. I remembered Jenny every day, and I began visiting her home periodically.

This was four and-a-half years after the paralysis began!

A friendship developed

The first time I visited Jenny was a bit uncomfortable as I waited at the door at 10:30 in the morning for what seemed like a long time. I stood at the door, but then one of the home-health nurses let me in.

They were blow-drying her hair. I can’t imagine the amount of work it is every day to tend to all the needs of a young woman who can’t move or breathe on her own.

Jenny seemed so happy to have a visitor. And I was happy to be finally visiting. I came with my guitar. She really didn’t know me at all except for a few conversations at the Y and the call for Thanksgiving.

I felt I needed to thank her for many things.

This woman got me out of bed. This woman gave me courage and perspective. This woman taught me to be thankful.

Quite honestly I wonder how many lives this woman actually saved? I know God used her to save me from my pitiful thinking. From thinking thoughts that would were faith-less and fret-full.

Jenny had a gentle spirit and joyful nature, even after almost five years of circumstantial loss. This was someone who couldn’t move a thing. She couldn’t pull her bangs down to fix them up. She couldn’t take a sip from a cup. She couldn’t do anything!

This is the woman that should be on the cover of magazines of what a “beautiful woman” is.

I brought my guitar for a time of worship and prayer. We sang. Jenny cried. Her respirator buzzer kept going off because of the extra air needed. And we prayed.

When Jenny spoke out of the abundance of her heart, you would think there would be bitterness, frustration, anger, and complaint. But I will tell you right here and now, out of the abundance of this woman’s heart, who had lost so much, was one thing, grace poured out.

Not complaint, but gracious words. She shared, “He’s going to heal me. He told me at the beginning, when this first happened. He said to my spirit, “You’re going to walk again.”

Jenny believed God. From day one to year five, completely paralyzed.

“The Lord has let my legs still have muscle tone. They aren’t supposed to have that. “I’m going to walk again,” she told me with complete faith.

I asked Jenny of her favorite memory verse.

“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

She would joke how she spoke with God, “Lord, I’m not going anywhere!”

You probably think I’m writing nice words about a friend. No, I’m writing about seeing a miracle of God

This woman was overflowing with faith, and hope, and I haven’t even mentioned the love.

God did this.

He was present. I was a witness of a life filled with the Spirit and submitted to Him.

Jenny’s home health care ran out after a little over five and a half years. She found herself back in the very same hospital that she spent so many months in almost 6 years prior.

This was her greatest fear. At 40 years of age.

But God gave us time together in the hospital reading the Bible together and singing songs. The girls will never know what God did for both of us in opening His word together, I thought, unless I write the words.

So, letters for the girls were written. But they aren’t just for the girls. That’s why I’ll share them.

(to be continued, Part 2).

 

 

Water into Wine, Remembering my Journal entry. August 9, 2010

August 9, 2010. On this date, I knew there was a very large lump on my right breast, but I didn’t know what it was at this time.

I was keeping a Bible Journal at the time. Apparently I was in John 2:

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

That was a crisis for this wedding feast. And I was in “crisis” as well.

Jesus said her,”Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
John 2:4.

In my journal writing I wrote, “Can God be showing me what to do in my crisis?”

I wrote so many years ago, (7 years to be exact):

There were 6 water pots of stone about twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.”
Today feeling very empty and confused, He said, “fill the water pots with water.” Water in the Bible symbolizes the Holy Spirit. And at the wedding they ran out of wine and He said, “Fill the pots with water.”

My very first thought is, the Holy Spirit. I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit!

So, on that day, many years ago, God was showing me personally, intimately what I, Toni, needed to do to get through that day, and the days I didn’t even know were to come, (which included a cancer diagnosis, many doctor and surgeon visits, then chemo, surgery, hormone therapy, etc., etc.

The words of Mary ring so loud to me, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

Fill the pots with water.”

That’s what He said.

I knew I needed counsel. He answered me, “Fill your clay vessel with water.”

So, I went to the word about the Holy Spirit:
And not be drunk with wine which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the LORD, giving thanks always…,” Eph. 5:18.

Little did I know, but for me, to help me through and keep me standing on the Rock, to keep faith through all the chemo and chemicals, I would be turning the pages of Then Sings My Soul, by Robert Morgan.

Speaking the words of the hymns, and singing them as I learned them, I was transformed, from fear to courage.

I was continually being transformed- from fear to courage!

So today, a lot has changed. I am healthy and strong. But what’s amazing is the remedy for my crisis today still remains:

“Whatever He says to do, do it.”

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. John 2: 7-11.

Dear Lord, teach me to seek Your face and hear Your voice as I open your word to hear what You say.” In Jesus Name. 

Amen.

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

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. 

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.”  

 

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!

 

Boastful In One Thing Alone/To God be the Glory

Not boastful about family, yet full of joy, love, and pride. Our family is a gift from God, shared and loaned to each of us for a time.

Not boastful in our talents, or all of our great powers:  To think. To sing. To run fast, to draw.

To create. To figure. To fly. To build high towers. Not boastful in any of these things at all. These are gifts given to us by the great and Almighty God.

Instead – Let us boast and give glory to Him. It is high time we give glory to One who is worthy. We seek God. We desire Him. Let us open His Book and receive His whole Story.

“To God be the glory, great things He hath done, So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, . . . ” (1)

Boastful in one thing and one thing alone: the cross that the Son of God endured for each and everyone.

For God so loved the world, yesterday and today. Even for all who hate Him and despise Him, the cross He endured.

Who yielded His life our redemption to win,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in.

The Place of the Skull, where there stood the cross. Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, To every believer the promise of God;

Not only one, but of crosses, there were three. And the story is read, of the choices of the thieves:
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son.

Boastful today about the cross alone. We’ve been redeemed, yes, bought by the Son, who paid for all the damages brought on by our sin.

Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.

We must not boast for ourselves, in a gift that is given. Let’s give God the glory He so wonderfully deserves.

Those who fear man will be fearful in this. But in these last days, let us boast in Christ – let us be of the courageous.

Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.

Jesus laid down His life that we might have it abundant. Living water for our thirst. Daily Bread for our hunger. His Spirit indwelling when we believe on the cross. The Father so loves that He gave His own Son.

On thing we must boast in, let us boast in the cross.

This old hymn brought out to the light was written by a woman who was completely blind. Fanny Crosby’s fingers wrote thousands of hymns. God allowed blindness in her life, only to give her incredible sight.

To God be the Glory,” one hymn out of many, has perhaps even today, opened some eyes that were blind – to see. Let’s give God praise:

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice;
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.

(1) To God Be the Glory. Fanny Crosby (1820-1915).

 

 

 

I choose health over anxiety. Where’s my hymnal?

Got health? Real wealth? Worthwhile things are worth the fight.

The struggle to balance. The work to think straight. The temptations surrounding. The need to put off, put away, to breathe, to wait.

I’ll let go of blame and fret. I’ll look up, not out. If it pleases God, that’s my final answer. His way, not mine, or the popular opinion of the time.

I choose to follow the direction that God leads. Even though He knows, I will fail Him over and over as He watches me.

So I take hold  of some old trust-worthy words, and recite them aloud like a song of a bird,

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms

Oh, there are ten thousand charms. Yes, riches, true riches are being near to God. Being full of peace and comfort, not fearing nor having alarm.

But alarm I have, and in fear I dive. But God is a help, and old hymns remind:

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome
God’s free bounty glorify
True belief and true repentance
Every grace that brings you nigh
Come, ye weary, heavy-laden
Lost and ruined by the fall
If you tarry ’til you’re better
You will never come at all

 

God is love. We are not. He is gracious in His being. He is compassionate.  His heart is gentle and kind. He doesn’t parade Himself. He is truthful, all of the time.

He knows our thoughts.

He is able to make a hard heart soft. He is powerful and willing. So often, we are not.

Are we are tired of being sick? Are willing to change our direction.

God the Father through Jesus His Son, and the power of His Spirit can bring change to our whole story.

He can give us wealth of health with freedom and forgiveness.

And He gives us victory to bring a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

No longer dwelling on the failures of the past. No longer projecting of a future unknown. Living in the present on this earth making my house a dwelling place for the Lord.

I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Hymn by Joseph Hart:
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy
Weak and wounded, sick and sore
Jesus ready, stands to save you
Full of pity, love and power
I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms
Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome
God’s free bounty glorify
True belief and true repentance
Every grace that brings you nigh
Come, ye weary, heavy-laden
Lost and ruined by the fall
If you tarry ’til you’re better
You will never come at all
I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
Oh, there are ten thousand charms

Where is love?

Here is love: The Man was taken. Condemned. The people’s cry, “Crucify!” Wrists tied.

The hands that fed. The hands that healed, served, and prayed. The hands that lifted as His Word proclaimed, and “it was so.” As the story goes.

From long ago. And the song is sung, “Jesus loves me this I know.”

Do I know? Do I consider? Do we even think of the rejection, the pain? And yet, He was w-i-l-l-i-n-g?

If we become confused, and forget where to find love. We must stop looking outward, we must “set our eyes above.”

A purple robe, a crown of thorns. The mocking, the laughing. It all could be heard. Stripped, then whipped. And this was only the beginning …

I gave My back to those who struck Me,
And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.

 “For the Lord God will help Me;
Therefore I will not be disgraced;
Therefore I have set My face like a flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.”  The prophet Isaiah proclaims in chapter 50. Who is the Me? Can you and I see?  “Jesus loves me.” Do I even come close to knowing?

Obedience to His Father who sent Him to die, on the cross that the Lamb of God might make complete sacrifice, for you and I. Even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. (1)

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah the prophet in chapter 53:6. 

The Scriptures proclaim. The Good Word speaks. How could we want to put the Truth out on the street? If God was waiting for me to get it right, He would still be waiting, because I fail every time.

We love Him because He first … loved us. (2)

” ... He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.” These are the words the prophet reveals. (3)

God loves the sinner. The guilty. The lost.

We don’t.  Naturally, we don’t (period.)We love “justice.” The human race doesn’t love the “unloveable.” But God does.

God is just. And God is also grace. How can we even think to turn our back to His face? Do we really love God? What is love anyway?

God demonstrates: He laid down His life for all of the human race. Whoever turns from the world’s disgrace, to look and seek for the Savior’s face will find forgiveness poured out. Guilt departs. Peace floods the broken heart. A new day dawns.

There is rest on green lawns. The sound of bird’s singing can be heard once again. Fluffy clouds in the sky abound in joy to our eye. “Today” is all that matters in this moment of time.

He’ll take the sin, the ugliness.  And He gives – His love and His righteousness. We do one thing, turn and trust. He does it all, that we might know …

Love.

Lo! glad I come; and thou, blest Lamb, Shalt take me to thee, as I am: Nothing but sin have I to give; Nothing but love shall I receive.” C.H. Spurgeon.

(1) Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

(2) 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”

(3) Isaiah 53:5, “But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”