Again

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Based on the thoughts in Psalm 55

Note: If you ever think you have it hard, read about the life of David. The Psalms are filled with his response to life’s difficulties.

 

Thought that I had gotten pass; thought that this was in the past;

Thought I had told you goodbye.

Thought that I’d forgotten it; no longer was I caught in it;

Thought all those tears were dry.

But today again it all came back;

Today, those memories all attacked,

And I feel the same pain as before.

Time, I thought, had healed the wound;

But now it’s opened yet anew.

And, again, my mind must war.

Forgive and forget; I know this, and yet,

Bitter feelings have come back again.

My heart sighs with fear as the memories so clear

Leave the place that they so long had been.

Oh, with wings of a dove, I would fly up above;

Like King David, to find a sweet rest.

My heart wants revenge, wants pain them to singe

That they might, like me, be oppressed!

But instead, I will call to my God above all,

Who will hear and will answer my voice.

In peace, He delivers; my path He considers.

Through Him, I can truly rejoice.

I’m casting my burden, though fearful, uncertain.

I’m trusting the Lord will sustain.

Oh, Lord, bring your peace; cause these memories to cease.

Let Your love in my heart have full reign.

 

 

 

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Mercies in Disguise

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“Blessings”

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace;
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep;
We pray for healing, for prosperity;
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear;
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near;
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love;
As if every promise from Your word is not enough.
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us,
When darkness seems to win,
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home.
It’s not our home!

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?
What if trials of this life-
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights-
Are your mercies in disguise?

-Laura Mixon Story (2011)

Mary and Martha

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 A knock on the door- in response, Martha came.

The woman said, ‘Jesus is coming this way!’

Behind her comes Mary: ‘Oh, I am so glad!’

And Martha was, too…but all the friends Jesus had!

At least thirteen men she must supper and bed;

But at least then her Lord could lay down His head.

So she opened her door and received to her house

Twelve hungry men, and Jesus Himself.

She flew to the kitchen, brought out all her food;

Just barely enough! ‘Oh, Mary…’- how rude!

‘She left me alone to prepare all these things,

And there she is sitting before Jesus’ feet.’

Annoyed, she continued to serve all the men.

Flustered and cumbered, she came up to Him.

‘Mary left me alone; O Lord, don’t you care?

Bid her, therefore, help me my burden bear.’

But Jesus said, ‘Martha, so careful and troubled;

By so many things, you’ve your own labor doubled.

But one thing is needful; won’t be taken away;

And Mary has chosen that good part today.’

Now I like to think Martha set down her things;

Saying, ‘Supper can wait. I will learn at His feet.’

And I like to think that is when Jesus smiled,

And taught many things to His own trusting child;

That what Martha learned on that so busy day

Was what things for Him can be truly delayed.

 

 

Cast Your Burdens

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Inspired by the children’s song with the same title

Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Cast your burdens upon the Lord,

Because He cares for you.

If laden, weary, you can’t go on;

He’ll safely bring you through.

Cast your burdens upon the Lord,

And He will give you rest.

He knows the struggle, He knows the weight;

But also, what is best.

Cast your burdens upon the Lord,

There’s none to hard for Him.

He walks beside, and gives His light,

Although the road was dim.

Cast your burdens upon the Lord,

And do not take them back.

For human strength is not enough;

You’ll find how much you lack.

Cast your burdens upon the Lord,

And bid your worries cease.

If He will hear a sinner’s prayer,

He’ll hear His child’s pleas.

Cast your burdens upon the Lord;

His easy yoke take up.

Labor till the work is through,

Then at His table sup.

Return unto Thy Rest

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Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 116:7-9

Careworn, and weary, oh, i cannot sleep;

I’m tossing, and turning; still counting those sheep.

Worried ’bout tomorrow, worried ’bout today,

Still worried ’bout some things that happened yesterday.

So many hurts and tensions; concerns and duties, too-

So much that is occurring, and I don’t know what to do.

I flip open my Bible (that will help me fall asleep!);

At first I read with casual eye, and then I start to weep.

“‘Return unto thy rest, my soul,return to thy sweet rest,

for the LORD’s so bountiful to thee;you are so very blessed!’

He’s kept my soul from dreaded death; my eyes from bitter tears.

He’s not allowed my feet to fall- I’ll serve Him all my years.”

Oh, how those words did touch my heart, my soul, my mind!

How fretful, worried, troubled, I’d forgotten God is kind.

In counting up my worries, my blessings I left out.

In counting up my problems, His provision I did doubt.

The Holy One Who saved me, can take my worries too.

The Loving One Who wipes my tears can make my heart anew.

The Blessed One Who guards my steps can catch me if I fall;

The Mighty One Who conquers foes can help me when I call.

I wipe my eyes, set Bible down, and breathe a silent sigh:

Return unto your rest, my soul; Your God is ever nigh.

 

 

 

 

 

WWJD?

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What Would Jesus Do? This phrase subtitled the book In His Steps by Charles Sheldon in 1886 and later became a popular catchphrase for teens in the 1990’s. Originally meant to show the stark contrast between what so-called Christians do and what Jesus said and taught, its meaning has become muddled by misuse and hypocrisy. I challenge you to read the book: you won’t regret a minute of it.

Think about how this thought-provoking phrase changes every part of our lives. But how it is even possible that we can move away from the Jesus of the Bible? While we don’t know every detail of His life, we have many of His words and actions recorded in explicit detail- not to mention the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! We have no excuse here in this age of freedom and access not to study to become more like Christ, but still we try to give reasons why we can’t live like Jesus did. If we think about Jesus, though, our words must fall away.

Why do we neglect to pray for days in a row? The third Person of the Trinity spent time in prayer.

Why do we lash out in anger at the smallest inconveniences? Jesus didn’t have any food either at the feeding of the 5,000, but He thanked God for what He did have, and see what happened!

Why do we spend money and time on ungodly entertainment? Jesus spent His time teaching, healing, and being a friend.

Why do we use social media to humiliate and downgrade others? Jesus had the power to tell the secrets of everyone He met, but He didn’t.

Why do we spend so much of our time trying to make our church building “the best”? Jesus’ church did not even have a building; they met in people’s houses.

Why are there entire countries without missionaries? Jesus went to the dangerous and hated country of Samaria and commanded His disciples to reach the world.

Why don’t we want to be involved in the children’s ministries? Jesus loved children and always had them near by.

Why do we harbor grudges against others? If anyone has ever had a reason to hate, Jesus did- but He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Why do we think it is a hardship to go on visitation for one or two hours a week? Jesus spent all day in the open air and heat to reach people who would or would not accept Him.

Why do we try to make it easy to serve the Lord? Jesus had no home, His brothers didn’t believe Him, many of His disciples deserted Him, His closest friends turned their backs on Him, He was killed by those He came to save. The servant is no better than the master.

Look at your life right now. How many areas of it would Jesus approve of?

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)

Can anyone see Jesus in you?

 

I’m Afraid Not

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We all do it- the Lord speaks to us through His Word, a sermon, a conversation with a friend; and we push Him away. The Bible says ‘quenched’. Like the Spirit of God puts a fire in us and we pour a bucket of water on it. Why would we do that?

Now when we say, ‘the Spirit’s leading’, please understand that this is not just a vague feeling of wanting to the right thing, or a self-betterment plan. This is a definite, Bible-supported conviction about an action or inaction.  So why wouldn’t do what we know is right?

The main reason that we don’t do what God says is fear. Fear manifests itself in many ways, shapes, and forms and is not always as obvious as we might think. But once we understand the root of the problem, we can better address it by going to the Bible for help. As you read this list, think honestly of what area of your life in which you face this fear- then do something about it.

  1. Discomfort

We don’t like to be uncomfortable. Whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, we will do pretty much anything to stay in our ‘comfort zone’. Thus, a problem arises when God asks (or commands) us to do something that we think will cause us discomfort. Our flesh immediately rebels to the thought of sacrificing for our betterment, or someone else’s. Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”, and Psalm 118:27 says, “God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” Obviously, it is not natural to want to sacrifice ourselves. It is a decision that we must make daily if we want to serve the Lord in any way. If we do, however, God promises us great comfort of the soul. Psalm 71:20-21 is just one example: “Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.” Do you fear discomfort?

2. Inability

We don’t like to fail. There is something in our nature that like to be in control and to be able to do everything; but we can’t. We all have something that we are either bad at, or incapable of doing on our own- and try to avoid situations where that inability becomes obvious. Thus, a problem arises when God asks (or commands) us to do something that we don’t think we can do. Our pride immediately rebels against anything that might cause us embarrassment. Moses faced this same fear in Exodus chapters 3-4. “And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” No one knows better than God what our inabilities are, and no one knows better than God how to enable us. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul says, “And he [God] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Do you fear inability?

3. People

We care a lot about what people think about us. Most of our life revolves around pleasing others, whether we realize it or not. Thus, a problem arises when God asks (or commands) us to do something that we think will make us lose other people’s affections. Our emotions immediately rebel against anything that might cause us pain. Jesus warned us about this kind of attitude when He said in John 15:20, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” If we are doing the Lord’s work, we can’t expect to be treated any other way than how He was treated- and He was crucified! When Israel was afraid, God’s answer in Deuteronomy 31:6 was to “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” He told Jeremiah, “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.” Do you fear people?

4. Disadvantage

We don’t like to think that someone else has it better off than us. Even if we are not in actual need, we can still be jealous of other people. Thus, a problem arises when God asks (or commands) us to do something that we think will put us at a disadvantage. Our pride immediately rebels against our not having what we think is the best. Israel showed this attitude when they asked for a king. It wasn’t enough that God Himself ruled them; they wanted what the other countries had! In Samuel 8:7, “…the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” When we are upset that we don’t have what we think is best, we are basically saying that God doesn’t know what He is doing in our lives. Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Do you fear disadvantage?

 

We all have fears. Don’t worry; God knows all about them! If we just realize that God has it all under control, then we can have true peace. But if we give in to our fears, we will never serve God as we should.

Are you going to give into YOUR fear?