This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hold Me Jesus

Well, sometimes my life
Just don't make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small

So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It's so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart


Surrender don't come natural to me
I'd rather fight You for something
I don't really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I've beat my head against so many walls
Now I'm falling down, I'm falling on my knees

And this Salvation Army band
Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin


You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

~Rich Mullins~

Getting Ready

I love to know ahead of time when company is coming. I am a lazy person by nature and don’t always have my house “company ready.” Something I think would be great, would be to to throw open the door with pride and allow someone to see my gleaming home.

But if you drop in unannounced (and if you are in the neighborhood, I hope you do!) don’t expect too much. You will see the piles of books, the half-finished projects, and clean laundry in baskets, unfolded (the dirty laundry, I try to hide!) . Hopefully those dishes won’t be in the sink. You will likely see the computer, smack in the middle of the living room, left on someone’s blog where I got interrupted for everyday life. That is my reality.

But if you call me (maybe) I might be able to make sure the vacuuming is done, the bathrooms are cleaned, just maybe those pesky dishes will be put away and it is possible I might have something more than coffee, tea and my favorite butter cookies for a snack.

It is possible.

Preparing takes a lot of work, but given the chance it is a joy to offer hospitality to our friends and family.

There are two times of preparation during the liturgical year, Advent and Lent. Both are times of spiritual housecleaning, if you will. Times to prepare our heart for the glorious feasts of Christmas and Easter/Resurrection Sunday. Time to renew our hearts and return to the One who loves us more deeply and more perfectly than any love we find in humanity.

The times of preparation are great gifts to us. We are given time to prepare. The arrival date is announced. Company is coming! Clean out the cobwebs of sin and indifference. Wash the windows of our soul. Even though we have welcomed Him into our hearts before, we have a chance to renew the joy of our first experience, our first love for the Maker of the Universe. The Maker of us, the one who knew us in the womb.

During Advent we prepare with joy for the coming of the Christ Child, The Price of Peace the Son of God, King of Kings, all wrapped in one tiny little being of an infant. What a beautiful mystery and what a joy.

We all know that the stable was likely to have been cold and the smells of the animals was heavy in the air, it was likely dusty or muddy. But it is a moment, for us, of joy. I think that is why we often drape the Holy Family in white or gold or lovely impractical colors in our nativity—our small gift to the Infant Jesus; our gift we weren’t there to bring over 2000 years ago. Advent is a path to rejoicing. We decorate our houses and prepare a birthday celebration.

Lent, too, is a path to rejoicing. Even more glorious than Advent, Lent culminates in Easter, Resurrection Sunday, the Victory over death and sin.

But to get to Easter we mush pass through a dark valley of Good Friday/Passover, Holy Saturday, the day of darkness and lingering doubt for the apostles, the quiet, quiet waiting.

In the 40 days of Lent we confront why it was necessary for our Savior, the One who knew no sin to suffer for all our sins; to die the painful death we, not He, deserved. He allowed Himself to be totally stripped of His glory, that we may be grafted in to the Vine, that we may someday join Him in heaven.

Lent for me offers an ugly mirror to clean. Oh, if someone looked at my life they could say, I could say, there aren’t BIG sins there. You know, the sins that land you in prison, the sins and scandals that make the headlines.

But that mirror is dark and shabby, smoky and dirty from all the little, petty offenses. And sometimes it is easier to sweep those under the rug and forget that they, too, are the cause of the lashes of the whip, the gouges of the thorns, the hammering of the nails

The rug needs more than vacuuming. The carpets need torn up and replaced. Cobwebs are clinging to the walls. Those dishes are still in the sink.

Company is coming. I need to get busy and prepare.

Behold, what Manner of Love the Father Has Given Unto Us

Joel 2:12-18

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, "Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
'Where is their God?'"

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.

2nd Corinthians 5:20-6:2

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

"When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."

Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.

Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return. Genesis 3:19

Repent, and believe in the good news. Mark 1:15 (NIV)

And saying, The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (have a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct for the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to) the good news (the Gospel). Mark 1:15 (AMP)

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 1 John 3:1 (KJV)

Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God's living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! That's why the prophet said,

The old life is a grass life,
its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers;
Grass dries up, flowers droop,
God's Word goes on and on forever.
This is the Word that conceived the new life in you. 1 Peter 22-25 (The Message)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grains of Gratitude

grains of gratitudeBetter late, than never.

Oh, I know it’s Tuesday. But I am still grateful for:

Spending time with family over the weekend. Celebrating a happy birthday of a handsome young man.

Safe travel to and from, accompanied by my youngest son.

A safe and pleasant weekend for my oldest son and my husband who stayed home due to rehearsal requirements.

Two brothers who missed each other tremendously over the weekend. They called and talked to each other while we were away and even when we were in the car driving home. (How did we manage before cell phones??) They were so happy to see each other that they didn’t argue for at least ten, maybe fifteen minutes after we arrived!!!

I’m glad to hear that I was missed, too. The guys were perfectly capable of surviving without me, they said they missed me—my presence. Why? I have no clue, but I’m sure grateful for their love.

For a busy week ahead.

The Grains of Gratitude meme began with Christine at Brady’s Bunch.

What are you grateful for?