Nevertheless God

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

Do we not?

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

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

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

our bodies had no rest, . . . we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us . . .” (2 Corinthians 7:5,6. NKJV).  

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

“O soul are you weary and troubled. No light in the darkness you see. There’s a light for a look at the Savior and life more abundant and free. Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Helen Lemmel (1863-1961).

Remember did come to my aid with a warning: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.Mark 14:38, NIV.

“O God,” I cry, “Remind me the promises. When the mountains quake, the trials mount, and Anxiety wants to be my best friend. Speak Lord, speak with mysteries deep.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”      Psalm 46:1-3.

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

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

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

 “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
 God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

And this is where I found Joy.

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

    • Refrain:
      Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
      Look full in His wonderful face,
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
      In the light of His glory and grace.
  2. Through death into life everlasting
    He passed, and we follow Him there;
    O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
    For more than conqu’rors we are!
  3. His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
    Believe Him, and all will be well:
    Then go to a world that is dying,
    His perfect salvation to tell!   hymn by Helen Lemmel

 

 

 

 

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

“Be Still my soul … ” (1)

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

Words. They hold power.

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Your faithfulness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teach us to trust.

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

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

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

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

The prayer in the hymn. The answer within: “Just from Jesus, simply taking …

Deep inside, tired. Deep within, weary. Like a wilted plant longing for reviving water. We hold out our hands, and our spirits seek God. In our weakness of faith, we cry out to Him.

And He hears our silent voices. He sees our seeking hearts. He breathes upon our frame mysterious peace though nothing changes.

Personally, as for me, deep inside my heart, I write what the Living God, through His glorious Spirit does, as I long for so much, time and time again. My morning prayer is written – from an age old hymn.

Not the first part, nor the middle – but the last thought becomes my prayer: “… O for grace to trust Thee more … O for grace to trust You more.” Silent words repeated over and again, but with wholehearted meaning and truthfulness: “O for grace, to trust You more.”

The next thing I know is a resurrection takes place. My eyes lift up and my whole countenance has change. “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.” This is the Spirit of God speaking: “Trust Me.”

“Trust, … Me.

I know the old words. What a treasure store. The Spirit brings them to my mind to answer and restore:“Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.”

Simply take from Jesus: life and rest, and joy and peace?

Then the realization is brought to mind, in my weariness, I’m not taking from Jesus – anything. Like stagnant waters with no movement and sound. But to my rescue at my soundless call, the Spirit woos me to remember His Song.

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

The next thing I know, my heart responds. Being reminded of my Love who is mine, evermore. And the song, though silent, stirs in my heart and revives me and prays the words I longed for:

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Then those words, almost hidden, they are. Words that could be so easily missed – become highlighted to me and repeated again …

“Just from Jesus simply taking, life and rest. Joy and peace.” 

“Take from Me. Take from Me.” I feel my Jesus answer.

“I offer life. I offer rest. I offer joy and peace.”

What do we say, to the old hymn’s reminder? What is our response this day, this hour?

Let’s respond with the old words that are written, and be renewed in the spirit of our minds once again. Let us rejoice in the Lord, always – no matter the mess we’re in.

Let us sing, even aloud with our voices today,

“Jesus, Jesus, how I trust You. How I’ve proved You o’er and o’er Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! Oh, for grace to trust You more!”

“O for grace to trust You more.”

So, today I will go, knowing I will fail Him often. Especially in my trust in Him along the way. But there will be a day, when He calls me to meet Him, and I will finally be able to truthfully say:

“I’m so glad I learned to trust Him, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend”

but today, I will believe with all my heart the hymn:

“And I know that He is with me,
Will be with me to the end.”

Let us sing with rejoicing and be ignited with praise:

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood
And in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

 

In restlessness – He is peace.

Where is God in all this “restless-ness?” Wars going on outside and in. The struggles, the hardships, the anger, the hate. The words that go back and forth without restraint.

A prophet of old wrote in his letter: O LORD, “How long?” “How long, … must I call for help,” Habakkuk 1:1. This is how Habakkuk felt, yes, open it up – God’s word, and see for yourself.

“Why?” you might ask. Because, today, we “feel” the same way.

Habakkuk writes freely his complaints: “Oh LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, …” (emphasis added), “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, your cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are You silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? …”(1) Questions, questions – these are the same questions we daily ask ourselves.

We’re fighting for some peace, we’re yearning for a song.

And for me, in my house – (that is, in my heart and mind,) He came to rescue. He came to my help. He gave me His Song, Psalm 23:1.”The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”

But in great need, and stress and fret, I spoke the full Psalm, from beginning to … “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever,” the end. And I thought, “forever” is a very long time.

Then the question, “Where am I dwelling, right now, in this moment? Am I dwelling in His house, or have I let “faith” walk out His Door?” “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.”(3) Was this the lesson for Habakkuk as well?

He invited me in, to come into His house, that I am “forever to dwell.” But He knows, I go astray, each and every day. But He offers “peace” unlike the world, “His peace,” He so graciously gives, even though I mess up, and sin …

so very often.

A song, an old hymn came to my mind just then, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”(4) 

It can’t just be “God” and “heavenly thoughts.” I called and I cried to “Our Father in heaven,” and He drew near to me, and reminded me “hallowed be His name.”

He can’t be what my small brain makes Him, He must be Who He is. And “Holy is His name.” But more amazing still, His “grace is sufficient.”(5).

So, to conclude this whole matter of restlessness and stress, and my mind running in circles, (can anyone relate?) May I learn from God’s help that He “presently” sent. And remember as Habakkuk had learned as well) …

I put some breath on the strings, that He, Himself has given (to each of us, no less), and I made the choice to sing, …

to sing praise for His glory, as I was (and seem to be always), in a battle of wills to trust God, it seems.  I sang and I prayed, and a “present” peace I received. But “today”, and “tomorrow” (if God will’s be mine) may I remember to put sound on the strings He designed.

Let us humble ourselves and praise His name “forever.”

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 20:21.

(1) Habakkuk 1:12,13.

(2) Psalm 100.

(3) Hebrews 11:6.

(4) Hymn: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.

(5) 2 Corinthians 12:9.

 

Rest your ‘tent’ on My Solid Foundation. love, God

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee…” Sometimes, we just want to hide ourselves. We seek rest. We’re tired. We want to rest our tired ‘tents’ somewhere safe, somewhere solid. Sometimes,nothing makes sense. Sometimes, we just want to hide ourselves and hear God speak audibly. We just want to hear Him.
The stories are written,and we know that even John the Baptist had doubts. John the Baptist, who even saw the heavens open, and the Holy Spirit descend like a dove and remain on the head of Jesus,and even proclaimed with his own lips, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29). But, it is recorded for all of us to read,

“And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the coming One, or do we look for another?”(Matthew 11:2,3).John the Baptist had doubts! Even John the Baptist!
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you heard and see.” (Matthew 11:4). “The blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

But there are times, in this sojourn, our tents have been set in the wilderness, and we just ‘don’t know!’ We just need to hear it straight from God! What are the things which have been told? “Remind us Lord, what are the blessings promised? Hide us Lord, and speak, Your servants are listening…”

“My dear child, you are growing, yes, you are growing in the ‘grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ my Son.’ (2 Peter 3:18). Growing is painful.But you are growing in the knowledge of Him when you seek the blessings promised. You see, ultimately, He is the blessing promised. Jesus doesn’t give you peace, He is peace. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”(John 14:27).

Jesus doesn’t give you strength, He is strength; “I will love You, O LORD, my strength, the LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer…”(Ps. 18:1).
Is your health poor? “I will restore health to you…” (Jer. 30:17). Do you have wounds, my child? “I will heal your wounds says the Lord…” (Jer. 30:17).
Are you an outcast? Have you been ‘cast-out’? Do you feel no-one cares, that no one seeks after you?

Haven’t you heard the promises? “Thus says the Lord: Behold I will release from captivity the tents of Jacob, and have mercy on his dwelling places; the city shall be rebuilt on its own old mound-like site, and the palace shall be dwelt in after its former fashion.” (Jer. 30:18). “Out of them [city and palace] shall come songs of thanksgiving and the voices of those who make merry.” (Jer. 30:19). These promises are for Israel past and present, dear child, but they are for you as well…
“But the firm foundation [laid by] God stands, sure and unshaken, bearing this seal (inscription): The Lord knows those who are are His, and let every one who names [himself by] the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it.” (2 Tim. 2:19).

Don’t just look from the distance on the Solid Foundation of God – build your life on it- invite Him to invade your tent! God’s voice is speaking! “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah…” (Is. 26:1). (But remember, your tent resting on My Solid Foundation, to Me is also the ‘land of Judah…’ My word is for you, my child, and my chosen nation, Israel).

Rest your ‘tent’ on My Solid Foundation. “In that day…” the day each and every day, each and every moment that you choose to rest your tent on Me, “shall this song be sung in the land…”We have a strong city; the Lord sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks. Open the gates…” (Is. 26:2), (Open the opportunities – our disappointments are God’s appointments,) “Open the gates, that the [uncompromisingly] righteous nation which keeps faith and her troth with God may enter in…” (Is. 26:2)

“WAIT A MINUTE!” (You might say), “I’m not ‘uncompromisingly righteous’, I don’t ‘keep faith in perfections!’ In this you are right, “There are none righteous, no not one.” (Romans 3:10), “But now, may the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing…”(Romans 15:13), believing in the promise of the One who came to Save! “But now may the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13).

Jesus doesn’t give you hope, He is hope!

Rest your ‘tent’ on the Solid Foundation of God! “Yes, ‘I will guard you and keep you in perfect peace whose mind… is stayed on me.”(Is. 26:3). “Commit yourself to Me, lean on Me, and hope confidently on Me.” (Is. 26:3). Rest your tent on My Solid Foundation and ‘trust in the Lord – commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently on Him – for ever;
for I AM an everlasting Rock – the Rock of Ages.” (Is. 26:4, Amplified).

Can you hear Me? He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Lord says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God, believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me.” (John 14:1). Rest your ‘tent’ on this Solid Foundation, “In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places (homes)(not tents!) If it were not so, I would have told you, for I am going to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2.

The blessing of Promise, is Jesus. “Think over these things I am saying – understand them and grasp their application…”(2 Timothy 2:7).”constantly keep in mind Jesus Christ, the Messiah, [as] risen from the dead…” (2 Timothy 2:8. (!).In that day shall this song be sung:
“I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved…”(Ps. 16:7,8).
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body, (my tent) shall rest and confidently rest in safety.” (Ps. 16:9)…”You will show me the paths of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy…”(Ps. 16:11).

Our Prayer? “Lord, help me ‘rest my tent’ on Your Solid Foundation!”