Thursday, July 28, 2011

Worship Wednesday: Your Great Name

I know that Wednesday was yesterday. This blog hit me yesterday (if that counts), but I just wasn't able to get back downstairs to blog last night so here it is a day late and a dollar short (what else is new eh?).

[I want to dedicate this blog to my second Momma, Rosalind Stancil. You are SUCH an example of godliness, strength and faith to me. I LOVE YOU!  Bad things sometimes happen to GOOD people, but God remains "HIGH AND LIFTED UP" through it all and "the enemy, he HAS to leave, at the sound of HIS great name."  I know you know that but I wanted to remind you.]

Your Great Name
Natalie Grant

Lost are saved; find their way; at the sound of Your great name
All condemned; feel no shame, at the sound of Your great name
Every fear; has no place; at the sound of Your great name
The enemy; he has to leave; at the sound of Your great name

Jesus, worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; and all the world will praise Your great name

All the weak; find their strength; at the sound of Your great name
Hungry souls; receive grace; at the sound of Your great name
The fatherless; they find their rest; at the sound of Your great name
Sick are healed; and the dead are raised; at the sound of Your great name

Jesus, worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; and all the world will praise Your great name

Redeemer, my Healer, Lord Almighty
My Savior, Defender, You are my King

Jesus, worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us, Son of God and Man
You are high and lifted up; and all the world will praise Your great name

This song isn't that profound really. We all know what it's saying. So I'm not sure what it is about the song that just GRABBED me in the gut when I heard it for the first time ever yesterday. Maybe the haunting melody? Maybe Natalie Grant's amazing vocals? or maybe just the PURE SIMPLICITY of the message.... HIS NAME IS ALL THAT AND A BAG OF CHIPS and maybe that IS profound.

Whatever you are going through today, I hope you will take a second to listen to this song in its entirety and really HEAR the message. Let it seep into your soul.... He's your Redeemer... your Healer... your Lord Almighty.

[I know this blog is dedicated to Roz, but my other Georgia friend... you know who you are... He is your Defender!  So charge into that conversation CONFIDENTLY!  It is not you who is speaking but God speaking through you as your DEFENDER!] 

This song ripped my soul wide open and allowed God to pour HEALING balm all over my broken parts yesterday. I hope it (and this blog) does a tiny bit of that for you today.

God bless!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

HIS mighty power....

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in HIS mighty power. (emphasis mine)
Ephesians 6:10

HIS power has been on my heart a lot lately. HIS power.... When I'm struggling through difficulties, fears and worries, I often find myself begging God for help to be strong, help to withstand the test, weapons to fight away the darkness.  But I forget that:

For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Cor 12:10

God doesn't want us to be stronger. He wants us to let HIS power work through us. He wants us to admit our weakness and let Him take over.

All this crazy heat and severe weather lately.  Have you thought about the fact that OUR GOD created the forces that make those temperatures sore? He made the physics that make that booming thunder and awe-inspiring lightening possible? He made that! He is bigger than that!  HIS power FAR exceeds that!!!

So instead of trying to fight things on my own.... instead of even asking God to help ME fight things.... I need to just utter one tiny, pitiful cry, "Help."  That's all I need to do... whine out, "Help. God this one is yours. I pass this battle over to you. Don't help ME fight it... fight it FOR me! HELP!"

Whatever you are fighting today: temptation, loneliness, depression, exhaustion, discouragement, worry, fear... Let it go! Hand it over to God. Release it to the One who has the power to make forces as great as thunder, lightening, and OPPRESSIVE heat.  Leave it to God, for HIS power is so much GREATER than ours.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Like Jesus....

I'm sure as Christians we all have the same goal: to be Christlike. I often pray that God will mold me and make me more like His image. I really truly want to be Jesus to everyone I come in contact with. 

Recently though I've been thinking about this aspect of that goal.... DIFFICULTY. 

Looking at Christ's life, I don't see too much ease:

*He was rejected by MANY
*He was crucified and tortured
*He was mocked, scorned, ridiculed
*He was misunderstood 
*He suffered injustice, pain, and betrayal EVEN THOUGH he was perfect and deserved none of it

So why then when I face trials and difficulties do I wrestle with "WHY???" How come I never seem to realize, life isn't about getting back what you've put in. Karma really DOESN'T exist. What goes around doesn't always come around correctly.  Instead the Bible says:

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have TROUBLE. But take heart! I have overcome the world. 
John 16:33
(emphasis mine)

Then He called to the crowd to Him along with His disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 
Mark 8:34

Why am I surprised when I face trouble? Why am I shocked when I suffer injustice? Why does it take my breath away when bad things happen to good people?

The truth of the matter is Jesus was the PERFECT, sinless, Son of God and He suffered injustice upon injustice. He didn't have a glamorous home.... He didn't ride on a thoroughbred...  But His needs were met... His feet walked the path God chose... and His ministry was BLESSED. 

Today my dear friend, be encouraged!  Troubles don't mean God has forgotten you!  Tough times aren't necessarily a punishment!  Struggles are not a result of God's indifference!  If you are struggling today, remember Jesus suffered hardship too!

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with out weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet He did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15

Don't let struggles get you down. Feel honored that you are counted worthy to suffer. And never, ever, EVER doubt that God is not RIGHT by your side as you struggle.

Keep that goal. Race toward that prize. The prize of becoming more and more like Christ every day... but along the way... don't expect a cheering crowd and gold medals. For that is NOT a part of the package deal we have purchased. Our reward is in Heaven and getting there will take a lot of struggle.

God bless you today!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More on weeds...

I mowed the lawn today.... and I have more to say about weeds.... I know... I know!  I talk a lot about weeds.  Kinda seems like all I do is garden, but with 1.89 acres to care for, weeds figure into the equation quite a bit.

Our lawn is actually a quite frightful sight right now. I keep praying that God will water it for us because moving a sprinkler around a 2 acre lot is not only wasteful it just might give a passing environmentalist a heart attack! Our lawn is more brown than green right now, and the patch on top of the septic hill is COMPLETE hay. We just haven't gotten much rain lately and things have gone a little dormant. The lawn really actually didn't need to be mowed except for the WEEDS!  DARN WEEDS!

Out in the country we have these noxious things. They start out looking like a pricker plant, but in the BLINK OF AN EYE this stick grows up from the center of the pricker plant shooting up to about 2 feet tall in no time at all. So while our grass is brown and nearly dormant barely in need of mowing, the weeds scattered ALL over our lawn needed to be mowed and were nearly as high as the riding lawn mower. So I put the mowing deck on the second highest setting and set out to mow my weeds.

As I mowed I marveled at how what I want to grow (my grass) is dormant and near death and what I want to  go away (the weeds) is thriving and vibrant. I also marveled at how as I ran over them, many of the weeds resisted the mowing blade having found solace under the tire of the mower until after the blade passed. I mowed the WHOLE lawn yet still there are a good 30 of those plants, mocking me with their 18" height.

How like life huh? What we want to grow (faith, hope, love, patience, kindness) has to be coddled and watered and fed and babied just to show the TINIEST shade of growth.  And what we want to slay (greed, selfishness, pride, anger, lewdness) fights our every attempt to annihilate it. On a daily basis we have to cultivate what we WANT in our lives: pure speech, peace, trust and at the same time we have to fight the urge to cuss, fret, vent, and SCREAM!  Left to itself, the lawn of our hearts would be just like my lawn... dormant, dead, brown grass with knee-high weeds thriving across it.

There is no easy way out of this dilemma. Only hard, back breaking work will bring about that which is good in our souls. Only daily Bible reading, continual prayer, and CONSTANT choices to REJOICE in our trials will give us a heart as pure as gold. Only minute-by-minute slaying our selves, laying down our wills, and FIGHTING Satan tooth & nail will get rid of the dross that floats on the top of our hearts.

My lawn problem isn't solved. I should probably get a TON of weed killer and go on an all out WAR against those evil little things.... But my war against the problem with my heart has new wind beneath its sail. Fighting those weeds encouraged me to fight my sins, to fight against the devil, and to rail against my own selfish desires.

Hope you enjoyed this little bit of John-Deere inspiration.  Now go fight some weeds!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Enough time....

While I realize this song (and likely the corresponding blog) holds a bit of morbidity, I can't help but be a bit consumed by it. Whenever this one lyric approaches, I well up with tears and my heart swells.

well... I've had just enough time...

That is what this blog will be about; however, first a little introduction....

I'm not exactly sure what this song is supposed to be about. It is a little morbid, even bordering on creepy. However, I was pulled in by the haunting melody and the BEAUTIFUL voice singing these lyrics that didn't really apply to me. This young girl who I imagined to be freshly beautiful (google proved my imaginations to be true) singing about if she dies and her mother has to bury her seemed like it didn't really apply... see I'm NOT young, and fresh beauty left me about a decade ago, leaving stretch marks, wrinkles and gray hair in its place. But when she sang, The sharp knife, of a short life... Well, I've had just enough time. It got me thinking.

I've had just enough time. I have had SUCH a blessed life. I'm sure MANY of you who have read this blog for a long time are thinking WHAT?!?!?!? doesn't she remember brain surgery? doesn't she remember being unable to pay the bills? doesn't she remember her baby is going under the knife in a month? 

I remember all those things.  I really do. But here's the thing.... I don't regret the bad things in my life. I don't shun the struggles. I embrace EVERY experience I have had, and all those to come because of this:  without the sad times the happy times aren't as great.... without heartbreak, love isn't as deep... without strife, peace isn't as welcome.... without pain, life just isn't life.

Back to my blog point: I've had just enough time! If I die before this blog is even finished, I have had enough time. Some people have a "Bucket List" of things they hope to do before they die. I've tried writing those, but I always get off track because I get more consumed with writing the things I've already done that I can cross off my "Bucket List"... see while I guess I have things that it would be cool if I did before I die, I'm so much more excited by the things I've already accomplished. As a result my Bucket List looks something like this:

*go to college; have fun AND get a degree
*be a teacher; do my best to mold young lives
*be a coach; pass on a love for cheerleading, fitness, and nutrition to young girls while making a difference in their lives
*fall MADLY in love, so in love that it makes sense to NO ONE else on the planet and CLING to that love come hell or high water
*be a MOM.. be a MOM... be a MOM!!!!
*have at least one girl and all the pink, and the bows, and the pom poms that come with that
*TRAVEL to Europe, Mexico, and the Bahamas... visit every country on my continent... go on a mission trip
*be Jesus to as many people as I can: love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable, give till it hurts, live like He might come back tomorrow
*own a dog (this one has come with a few more strings than anticipated... Kiah spent the night in the kennel AGAIN last night because she ran away again)
*have a house (FINE! I don't own this one yet, but I will, someday, PROMISE!)

I guess that there are still things to be done, places to be seen, accomplishments to make (WRITE A BOOK!!!!!) but I am so very happy with my life, and If I die young (as young as 42 can be that is) I would die happy and satisfied that I have had a GREAT life... cuz I've had just enough time.

I hope you've had just enough time too...
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