Monday, October 30, 2006

Requesting Your Prayers

In addition to praying for my new little great niece/nephew to be safe and healthy...

Please pray in regard to the song I mentioned in my "Travelin' Music" post. I keep sensing there is more God wants to give me (more words to the same song). I just don't have them yet. There's a sense of the song not being complete.

Isn't that how our lives are? A song God just keeps writing: note by note, and verse by verse, as He makes our life a beautiful melody that draws others to Him.

May your life be filled with sweet music, my friends!

Family News

I have to post this!

We received a phone call from our niece last night. She and her husband are going to have their first child next May or June!!!! I'm going to be a great aunt! My husband said, "I'm already a great uncle." :o) Okay. So maybe I'm going to be an even "greater" aunt???

Anyway, congrats, sweetie! We all look forward to this arrival with great anticipation and joy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Travelin' Music

As anyone who has read my recent posts already knows, I've been struggling along this journey lately. If you've read the beginning posts, you'll know why. Our family is in a time of transition. As my friend Paula M. would say, "God is wrecking our boxes." It's time to move on to something new.

Something most of you don't know about me is that, next to God, my husband, kids, family, and close friendships, my first love is music. I've been playing piano since I was a little shaver. :o) I play a few other musical instruments, too. I love to sing. One of the joys of my life has been singing praises to God, and leading others to learn to worship Him--beyond the music--from their innermost beings.

I haven't had much music in my heart lately. I've been too wrapped up in "life" issues. My mind and heart have been full of other things. I haven't been focused on worship.

But, my was different. I sat down at the piano to play through some songs we learned in church recently. Then, before I knew it, God was giving me a new song. It was like a fresh spring of water bubbling out of me. Something new from God's heart to mine, to give me new words to worship Him. I really can't describe it. Words fail to explain the joy.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes
down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation
or shadow of turning." James 1:17

Thank You, Father, for this wonderful gift You gave me today.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Measuring Up

I have spent my life worshipping idols.

GASP! What did I just say?

Okay. Take a deep breath. It's not what you think!

All my life, I have looked at someone who is: older, wiser, prettier, wittier, more spiritual, more name it...I have looked at that "someone" and idolized them. Not in that, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image" kind of idolatry. It was more like a, "I'll never be able to be as.....(wise, pretty, witty, spiritual, popular) he/she is. They are just too (wise, pretty, witty, spiritual, popular). I could never measure up to that!"

You know the type, right? That person that never seems to run out of wise advice. The woman who never has a hair out of place, no matter how many children are clinging to her skirts (jeans?). The person who always has a funny line to lighten the mood. The one who seems to be friends with just everybody they meet.

The hardest to deal with, though, is the person who always has the appropriate Scripture for every situation. They can quote it in every version ever translated from the Greek, Hebrew, Latin...and can probably quote it in those languages, too! Because they have studied the original, and know exactly what every nuance of every word is. They are God's best friend. Even in the midst of terrible, fiery trials, they keep their testimony. A smile on their lips. A prayer in their thoughts. They even have time to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. They lay hands on the sick, and see them healed. They are super Christian.

These are the people I have measured myself against since I was a child.

And after my last post, I have been dealing with a terrible case of "I'm-the-dirtiest-rottenest-sinner-who-ever-walked-this-planet-how-can-God-love-and-forgive-me"?
It has been a rough week of self condemnation.

A few days ago, though, I read this verse again. God is not asking me to measure up to all those people I "idolized" for so long. He has a completely different system of measurement. His yardstick doesn't work the same way mine does!

With this passage of Scripture, I close this post. Reflect on it. Meditate on it (roll it over in your heart and mind). I hope it refreshes you as much as it has me.

"With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:6-8

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Journey Struggles

Over the past few weeks, I have been reading a forum which deals with issues in the church with which we were formerly affiliated. I won't go into detail. What I will say though, is that there are a lot of hurting people out there who need your prayers.

What does this have to do with me personally? A lot of those people are my friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ.

There is this "thing" inside me that can't stand it when those I care about are mistreated, lied to, or in some other way wronged. It's that part of me that wants vengeance. Wow. Did I use that word? But it's true. I want the erring party to repent, yes. But I also want to see them do some groveling and major "making of things right". And that thing inside me is like a mother bear protecting her young: you hurt someone I love, and I will attack!

Shocking, isn't it? Most people who know me think I'm this gentle, meek person. I've been accused of being a "goody two shoes". If they could see my heart, they would know differently. Because the attack I was speaking of doesn't usually come out where others can see it. It's an anger I bottle up inside. When my little fingers want to spew it out on the forum, the Holy Spirit just won't let me. But it's still in there. And it is like cancer to my soul.

I am angry and hurt that so many people I love have been hurt. And I want to see those who did these things hurt, too.

But a post on that forum reminded me of these words:

"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors...For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:12, 14)

Ouch. And there isn't even a clause in there that says, "If they want to be forgiven." Or, "If they ask your forgiveness."

The Amish families in Pennsylvania have shown this truth in such a remarkable way. The man who brutally murdered and injured their daughters is dead. His family is living with the results of his actions. But are the Amish looking for some way to extract retribution? Are they trying to get their "just due" from the man's family? Quite the opposite. They are offering love, forgiveness, and prayer for that man's family. Incredible.

Lord, please teach me to share the forgiveness You have so freely given. Help me to let You be the judge. Teach me to show Your love through letting go of the wrongs.

I close with my confession:

Most merciful God,
I confess that I have sinned against thee,
in thought, word, and deed,
by what I have done,
and by what I have left undone.
I have not loved thee with my whole heart;
I have not loved my neighbors as myself.
I am truly sorry and I humbly repent.
For the sake of thy Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on me and forgive me;
that I may delight in thy will,
and walk in thy ways,
to the glory of thy name.

O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth,
Have mercy upon me.

O God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy upon me.

O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful,
Have mercy upon me.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Every Part of Me

A few years ago, a CD came out called, "My Utmost for His Highest". The songs were based on excerpts from the Oswald Chamber devotional book. They were sung by various artists. One that has been on my mind today is the song, "God of All of Me", which was sung by Sandi Patti.

There is this hunger inside me, this longing for God to have every bit of me. Every molecule. Every atom. To have total control of every thought, word, and deed. For my every move to be that of a Spirit-led child of God.

Yet there is this "other" me. The one that says, "I can take it from here, God. Just step aside for awhile. I've done this before. I can handle this one. I'll get back to You when I really need You." That's the part of me that gets me into trouble.

The part of me that worries when the car needs to be fixed--again. The part that worries when the utility bills are higher than I'd expected, for no apparent reason. The part that gets angry when people don't act/respond in the way I expected them to act/respond. The part that withdraws into myself when I'm hurt or angry, instead of trying to work it out in prayer. The part of me whose tongue speaks venomous words in a moment of anger.

Paul talked about this battle between spirit and flesh in different ways. There's the Romans 7 passage, where he says something to this effect: "I keep doing what I shouldn't do. But I don't do what I should do. It's this sin dwelling in me! " (vs. 19-20) (This passage always confused me when I was a kid!) Then there's the familiar passage from Ephesians 6:12, that talks about the truth of the battle in a different way: it's not about what we see, but about the spiritual forces we cannot see.

So there are two elements to this: my own sin, and those spiritual forces who are cheering for my sinful self. Those are some mighty big obstacles to overcome, to get to the place of GOD being in control of "all of me".

The great thing is this: God WANTS me to be victorious in this battle. In Romans 8, Paul wrote: "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (v. 37) God isn't on some power trip. He wants me to conquer my sin and those spiritual forces, because He loves me!

"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, nor electric bills nor car repairs nor unruly children nor bad hair days [pardon the paraphrase] shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (vs. 38-39)

God knows that hungering inside of me. And He has given me the way to get there: through Christ Jesus my Lord.

"Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 15:57)

I close with a short praise song I wrote many years ago.

Take All of Me

Here I stand in Your presence
Lord, I want to give my all
So as I come to Your presence,
Oh, dear Lord, please hear my call:

Take all of me
Every part--take all of me
Take all of me
All my heart--take all of me
It's all about surrender.