Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Eternal Offering

For it is by grace you have been saved,
 through faith
and this is not from yourselves,
 it is the gift of God— 
 not by works, 
so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

God offered me the chance to have Him as my master.  That's a gift from Him that I decided to open.  I did have a choice to either accept His offering or not.  I stepped out in faith. 
I had done nothing to deserve His favor but He offered me His life anyway.  I have done nothing about which I can boast except how Christ has worked in me.  I'm a pretty pitiful participant in His eternal offering but somehow he delighted in me enough to offer me eternity.  I'm thankful.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Is Worship?

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, 
in view of God’s mercy, 
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
 holy and pleasing to God—
this is your true and proper worship. 
Romans 12:1

In a small group on Sunday night we have been studying how we use our music in worship.  The question has been asked: "What is worship?"
I believe Paul gives us a very good description here in Romans 12.  I've read the first verse and always remember the "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God" and that's it in a nutshell.
However, I tend to forget the rest of the verse that tells us how important that is.
The offering of our total being is our "true and proper worship."  If we do that, we will be able to accomplish the near impossible list of ways that Paul states in the rest of the chapter.
Christians, go offer your best sacrifice, yourself, and worship your God who allows you that privilege.  He'll show you what else He wants you to do when the time is right, if anything.

Monday, October 28, 2013

And Why Are We Confused?

So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. 
But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads 
and put them on other people’s shoulders, 
but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
Matthew 23:3-4

We hear the words our leaders say but their actions deny their intent.  Parents, teachers, politicians, employers, religious leaders and more tell us one thing but do another.
What are we to think and do?
I don't know about you but I'm confused...
and it's not just because I'm old.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Letting Off Steam

Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob...
who turned the rock into a pool,
    the hard rock into springs of water.
Psalm 114:7-8

Maybe those things that set us a volcano...are actually things that should make us think.
What if our volcanic words were words that were like a flowing, soothing stream instead?
What if God put that troubling circumstance in our path to draw us closer to Him?
What if we praise God instead of griping?
What if...?
Who's in control here anyway?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Birds of the Mountains

I know every bird in the mountains,
    and the insects in the fields are mine.
Psalm 50:11

It's good to remember that God cares for the smallest of his creations.
Sometimes it helps to go back to basics.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Almighty Painter

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Psalm 107:31

The title for this photo from mangloard
is "Beauty and Madness."  I was a bit confused until I saw that this photographer shot his wonderful photo in Kosovo.  
The world is full of madness so it's important to collect ourselves and realize that God still loves us and provides vast amounts of beauty for us to enjoy. 
 I give thanks to you today, Lord, the Almighty Painter and worker of wonderful deeds.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Clarion Call

 I will sing and play music for you with all that I am. 
 I will start playing my harps before the sun rises. 
 I will praise you, LORD, for everyone to hear; 
 I will sing hymns to you in every nation. 
Psalm 108:2-3

I've been enjoying substituting for the organist at West Jackson Baptist Church (not the organ pictured)and I will be substituting again at another church in town today...playing for a funeral. 
It's interesting for me to play the different instruments in town and I like the challenge of adjusting to each.
Each instrument is unique.  Even the same "brand" can have a totally different sound depending on its placement in a room.  Each has a different touch and arrangement of stops (those knobs you see to the side that open the pipes up to sound.)  
I feel privileged to be able to fill in and honored to do so.  God has been so good to me to allow me to serve in this way
on many occasions, I have made music "before the sun rises."

(The above photo is the organ at St. Patrick's in Dublin.)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Feeling Trapped?

My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.
Psalm 25:15

Many times I've felt trapped in a situation from which I could not escape.  Nothing I did released me. I tried to find respite but couldn't and then...
I remembered

Why do I not find the peace He promises?
 I don't ask.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Words Are So Important

My lips will not say anything wicked,
    and my tongue will not utter lies.
Job 27:4

So many times I have been guilty of debasing another with my words.  I was careful not to "label" my children but my anger spewed out of my mouth at them too many times...just as bad as a label.  Parents get frustrated, are tired and don't think that what they say may make an eternal impact on their children.  They think that the child will forget, that the words will roll off, that make-up actions will heal...but they don't.
I knew my mother loved me but her anger at me, my sisters and my Dad was uncontrollable at times, so much so that I would run to another room and hide in a closet to escape.  She loved me and I knew that but the labels I received have been difficult to overcome.  Being able to control my anger has also been a life-long challenge, one on which I am still working.
The old adage, "If you can't say anything nice then say nothing at all." is still valid for me.  I will be a learner until I die for I think my childhood "teaching" has permeated my life.  Don't let it happen to your children.

Monday, October 14, 2013

God and the Fall

Be strong and courageous.
 Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, 
for the Lord your God goes with you;
 he will never leave you 
nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

On the way to sub for the organist, I prayed, "Lord, go before me.  Make my way straight, protect me and allow the registration to work with the choir and congregation."  It was the first time I had played for a service in this church and, though I had practiced with the choir on a piano in the choir room last Wednesday, I was not going to have the opportunity to do so in the sanctuary with the organ.  Would I be too loud, too soft, able to see the director?  All these questions were plaguing me as I drove to the church.
God did give me a sense of peace.  All was well as I met with the orchestra, soloists and choir.  Things were looking good...I thought.
As I started descending the carpeted stairway on the organ side (the side on the right of this picture by the choir), the lights were low and I lost my footing on about the third step of 13.  I fell and tumbled...seemingly forever...and realized, "I'm not stopping!"  Immediately, like hitting an inflatable cushion (God's hand for sure) I stopped.  The pianist and another came running across the platform to check.  I was pretty banged up with a swollen lip, abrasions and a jammed finger...and it was three minutes before the service.
The Lord was with me even when the evil one wanted me to fail...and fall.
After I recovered my wits (about one minute), I took the bench and played what I had practiced all week.  The registration was workable and the service went well.  Though I was sore, I was able to return for the evening service with confidence...and I didn't have to go down the staircase again.
It could have been so much worse.  The evil being could have been in control but he wasn't.  God was.  I could have been badly injured but I wasn't.
I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to help out the organist who had surgery and needed a sub.  Next time I'll go more slowly and hold the rail.

Photo Credit: (West Jackson Baptist Church, Jackson, TN.)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Color is...BLUE

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

Big sister wanted a girl.  
Big brother wanted a boy. 
 Little brother wanted a tractor. 

Who was right?

Grandchild number 15 is due in February.  Thank you, God.  We can't wait to see him.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pink or Blue?

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man 
whose quiver is full of them.
Psalm 127:4-5a

Boy or girl?
  Today we find out which one for my daughter and son-in-law.
This scripture is especially significant to her Daddy, the bowyer, and a baby bow will be awaiting the little one on the day of its birth.
Hopefully, "baby whatever" will be cooperative.
Blessings abound.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

There's Still Hope

For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.
Ezra 6:22

There's still hope. 
 God can change anyone. 
 We must pray.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Have a Heart

The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart
    and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
    according to what their deeds deserve.”
Jeremiah 17:9-10

Don't be deceived by appearances.  Some hearts are deceptive. 
 I like the shape.  It looks like a heart but I shouldn't touch it.  It would hurt me.
I'm like that heart sometimes.
My thoughts are tongue is intentions are questionable.
Oh, that I would have a heart to please God all the time...not just the times that suit me.
Lord, help me to have a heart for you.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Author of All

You are worthy, our Lord and God,
 to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
 and by your will they were created
and have their being.

Revelation 4:11

I'm remembering my Supreme Super Power today.
He gave each of his hand works uniqueness.  In so remembering, I'm OK with my weird.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Shifting Shadows

Every good and perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
 who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

I love dusk when all the trees are shadows and  the lighted sky changes colors when the sun goes down.  Yes, that's my favorite time of day.  It's also the most dangerous time of day to drive.  Everything familiar now looks like an antique grey and white photo because all the colors have disappeared.
There are so many grey areas in life...the ones not defined by scripture...and it's easy to make a wrong turn.  That's when I need wisdom and discerning which only comes from God.  It's good to stay in contact with the One Who Does Not Shift.

Photo from my personal file

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Safety in Hope

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Now I'm afraid to go to the Mall.  Not that I go that much but with all the trouble across the globe, I guess we really can't feel safe anywhere.  I don't know why 67 Christians along with many innocents were killed in Kenya last week.  I ask "why?," as do many others.  I must continue to trust the Lord because I know he knows best.  
In reading a letter from a missionary who lived adjacent to that Mall, I am pleased to announce that the remaining Christians in that area are not daunted.  They suffer sadness at the loss of the lives of their friends but have the hope that God has provided the ultimate safety for them in His eternity.  I must be content with that knowledge as well...but I still have internal conflict.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Playing Games with God

But God shows his love for us
 in that while we were still sinners, 
Christ died for us. 

Looking for praise, doing things to receive accolades, dressing to please, spending too much for decorations so we can be noticed, sacrificing family time for a friend, overworking for the boss' attention, reading the Bible through at the expense of missing your child's bedtime...and the list goes on.  These things are not bad but they are some of the things that people do to fill the God Hole in their hearts...the one that needs total acceptance.  The world can't give it to us and nothing we can do will help us achieve it except to...

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved...Acts 16:31

We just need to listen to His Word and do what He says... love him and love others.  Everything else will fall into place-- 

and no one said it was easy.