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Posts Tagged ‘#ibelieve’

IMG_3851While driving one day last week the words of a song were heard by my heart.

Being on the cusp of change I needed to be reminded of that which does not, and there is nothing like the words in the middle of the Lamentations to re-set one’s … laments.

“Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:21-26

The book of Lamentations is one of mourning, weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jerusalem had been destroyed. The city of the people of God, God’s place of residence, was destroyed.

The book is written in poetic forms … ah, how poetry can make more sense when we are bowed to our knees.

The Lamentations are a cry for God to restore his people (aka, they blew it, and were begging on their knees to be forgiven). In this book, God never speaks … it is as though he  let them, wanted them to cry out, so as to remind them of his mercifulness, even in the midst of their laments.

So, as I listened to the song, Do It Again, and heard the words that reminded me of the unfailing faithfulness of my creator, redeemer, sustainer God, I sighed with the confidence that “his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.”

The Lamentations reminds us, not only of the faithfulness of God (right in the middle of the laments), but that praise and lament/weeping can happen simultaneously. That God is faithful, in the good times, and in the times of sorrow, loss, confusion, sickness and heartbreak.

And if he has shown his compassion and faithfulness in the past, we can have confidence, hope that he will do it again.

Do It Again
-Elevation Worship
Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet
I know the night won’t last
Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You’re still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed
Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet
I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again

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With the passing of Billy Graham, from Earth to eternity, I keep hearing, in my mind, those familiar lyrics …

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

This hymn, written in 1835 by Charlotte Elliot, who referred to Just as I am as her spiritual autobiography. It is a song of coming to Christ, of acceptance. Really, it is a song of forfeit to some greater force, and with the greatest of humility.

My own personal connection to it was that it was used when I was baptized, at the age of sixteen. A verse was sung after each person was baptized.

I remember that day so well, and the pondering that led to my decision to be baptized. I had been told by a friend that without baptism I would not enter heaven when I died. I did not agree.

That disagreement sent me right where, I believe, God wanted me to go … to the Bible. I read every verse and book chapter, that I could find, that spoke of baptism. I learned what a commentary was, and I poured over their understanding of biblical texts on the subject.

Finally, I came to my own conclusion, that baptism was simply the outward expression to the world, of the acceptance I had made, of the redemption availed to me through Jesus. I also came to the conclusion that it was what I would choose to do, because I wanted the world to know that I was associating with Jesus, for the rest of my life. Not because I had it all together, not because I was perfect, but because I was renewed, redeemed.

And that is the appeal of the hymn, Just as I am. It is not a song about how we have it all together. As a matter of fact, it is quite the opposite:

without one plea
rid my soul of one dark blot
many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without
poor, wretched, blind

It is a song of self-realization of the lacking, the negativity, the sin in our lives. And it is in acknowledging where we lack that openness to what Christ has for us, is birthed. Even in the negatives, each verse ends with “O Lamb of God, I come!”

My favourite verse is the fifth (I believe the last in the hymnal I grew up with),

“Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe

That is it, belief.

Not vast amounts of tithing, piety or perfection, but because I believe.

Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Though my baptism was not some magical event, it is one of the most special events of my life, because it was the first time that I declared with my mouth that Jesus is my Lord … it was the public expression of the change in my heart.

Is Jesus your Lord? Do you believe it, in your heart, that he was raised from the dead? for you?

Believe, and be saved … just as you are.

Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – though toss’d about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
-O Lamb of God, I come!

Just as I am – of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
-O Lamb of God, I come

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Left wing or right?

C/conservative or L/liberal?

I feel as though our world has gone crazy for pigeon-holing other humans.

As one who has always been quite comfortable being strangely unique, I am offended  (word of the day) by this pigeon-holing.

Because I am a woman …
does not mean I am a feminist, believe I am under the subjugation of men, or love Grey’s Anatomy (nor am I saying I am not).

Because I am an educator …
does not mean that I vote with union-supporting parties, believe that higher education is the only way to a successful life, or that I have amazing handwriting on a chalk/white board (nor am I saying I am not/do not).

Because I am a west coaster …
does not mean that I wear Birkenstocks (with or without wool socks), eat a Vegan diet, or that I do yoga on the beach (nor am I saying that I am not/do not).

Because I am a Christian, does not mean that I hate anyone who is Muslim, gay or whoever wears tattoos … period!

Here is who I am …
I am, first and foremost, a flawed, undeserving recipient of the most awe-inspiring redemption, from the One who set the world in place (though, I am not sure if it happened in seven days, seconds or millions of years … but I am fully confident that it was by an intelligent being).

I have voted for three national political parties since the first time I was of age to practice the privilege of voting. I vote with my conscience, not with the conscience of a politician, or a party.

I have three children, who I have encouraged, since childhood, to look out for the underdog, the new kid, those who may seem weak … never has this encouragement been connected to a race, religion, lifestyle or any other differential. To care about and for all created things. And I have taught them to NEVER make statements that they are not willing to do something about (and that holding a placard is not as important as reaching for the hand of one who has fallen or been pushed down).

I believe it is possible to have a relationship, even love, someone with whom I disagree. I do not choose to love only those who think like me … how lacking in diversity of life.

I believe in free speech … even when I do not like what is being communicated.

I believe that all of human history matters, and that we learn from what was done right, as well as what was done wrongly. This is the reality of all human existence, that we all have the capability of good and of evil.

I am not perfect … not in my actions, my attitudes or my words, for “there is no just man (or woman)” (Romans 3:10).

I am no pigeon and, I bet, neither are you.

 

 

 

 

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I actively look to see what I can learn from all created around me. If you have read enough of my posts, you will know that I am a dreamer, I am terribly immature, and I love wonder (like I love chocolate … and that is saying something). I hope that, when I die, I am even more of a dreamer, more immature, and that I can even see the wonder in the leaving of this Earth for my Foreverland.

The photo to the right is of a pond I frequently walk past with my beast (either beast #1 … the dog, or beast #2 … the hubby). One day, as I glanced towards the pond, I could see something in it … moving (and no, it wasn’t a bear). Upon investigation (and much squinting), I saw that it was a beaver. It glided beautifully along the water, then … flop … with a flap of it’s tail, it submerged. I was delighted with my ‘find’, which now gave further significance to the fallen tree a bit beyond the pond.

This was about a month ago, and I still look to that pond, every time I pass, for Mr. Beaver. I keep looking, because he showed himself to me once, and now I know he is there … somewhere.

Along my walks I also frequently see horses in a field. Their grace and beauty bring me to a place of awe, every time I see them! But sometimes … most times that I pass their field, I do not see them. Still, because I have seen them in the past, I know they are there, so I keep looking.

Along my walk I also get beautiful, jaw-dropping views of local mountains, that even I can snap a great picture of. They NEVER look the same, because the amount of snow changes, and the sun shining on them, from different angles changes their appearance. But some days (really, if you look at the 365 days of a year, it is most days) they are covered by clouds, and they cannot be seen at all. That fact does not mean I do not still look for them. I always look for them, because I know they are there … just hidden from view.

One day I saw something I had not seen before (and did NOT want to see any day). A snake (ewie)! And I guarantee you, I will be looking for him EVERY time I am on that part of the path, because I know he is there (and he is waiting for me. I looked back over my shoulders for at least a mile after seeing this guy, certain that he was creeping up behind me like Fred Flintstone … but I digress). I have seen him, once, and now I will be watching.

The beaver in the pond, made me consider how God, and his comfort, are not clearly, obviously, in your face visible every moment of every day. But, if you have ever known His comfort, His presence, His answers, in your life, you know He is there. Sometimes He is there in a piece of music, or a hug from a friend, or in falling rain, or an eagle soaring in the sky, or a buttercup, or … a beaver in the pond.

And, I think the message might be … keep looking. He has revealed Himself in the past, He is there/here … keep looking. Because it is in looking for Him, when we do not expect to see Him, that we are enabled to BELIEVE.

Music moves me, and, the first time I heard the following song, on a day when tears were leaking from my eyes, I was moved by how the lyrics spoke the words of my heart. And I pray, because I have seen Him in the past, I will die saying, just like a child, I believe …

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