Saturday, October 20, 2012

Holy Night

"I know this thirst will not last long, that it will soon drown in the song not sung in vain"
-Rich Mullins

O holy night
wind is blowing through the crack in my car window
the temperature just right
to soothe my face, and soothe my soul
and disappear into the sights of the highway
and the music that fills up my car
with grace and peace
and reminders of how great is His faithfulness
O blessed evening
at my computer screen
to ponder love and reasons
and longing for intimate connection
with the Lord
how close He is, yet, how so very far away
and how I want to hear from Him
and how He wants me to walk it out by faith
and how I want to find rest and solace in His arms
and how He wants me to be bold, step out and have no fear
and but somewhere, somehow, all He asks
is that I love Him, right where I'm at
O night divine
the room is quiet
only sounds of the song that I’m listening to
the spinning of the fan overhead
the patter of my fingers on the keyboard
yet, my mind in motion
yet my spirit is at peace
knowing that no matter what is going on around me
I belong to Him
and when I die, I’ll be taken up to glory
O hopeful night
stillness surrounds me
peace like a pond
each verse is like a ripple on my surface
and I can believe that the song I sing
will not be sung in vain
with the night, I call out Your name
with the night, I long, I hope
that all will be well for every weary traveler
that all will be right for each searching soul
when we turn our eyes
to the child, who came into the world
born in a manger
on one holy night

Friday, October 19, 2012

God Has a Purpose

There is a mystery and wonder to the work of God in our lives that stretches far beyond our finite understanding.  The Lord says, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)  Yet within God’s eternal plan are wonderful promises for the here and now.

God’s plan involves eternity, but He has a specific purpose for our time here on earth.  If only we could always see our lives from God’s perspective!  In this world we walk by faith, we see “…but a poor reflection as in a mirror… (I Cor. 13:12).  Yet God has given us the steady and sure light of His Word to guide us through.  The Scriptures says, “However, as it is written:  “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” — but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. (I Cor. 2:9-10)

Through the Spirit we are able to understand “…what God has freely given us.” (I Cor. 2:12)  In order to truly know God’s purposes they must be searched out.  Like a man mining for gold we search out the deep things of God.

Sometimes it is hard to understand what God is doing, to discern His will.  God weaves His plan into our lives through the tapestry of seasons.  We don’t always see it at first but He weaves into our lives the beauty of His purpose.  We look back at what He has done and marvel at the wonder of His work.  Truly He makes all things beautiful in His time. (see Ecclesiastes 3:10-14)

God doesn’t do things according to our timetable, but by His own set purpose.  The end result will be beautiful.  In fact, I believe it will be far more glorious than we may have originally realized.  We have to allow our faith to stand the test of time and see the beauty of what God will accomplish. 

The Apostle Peter said,

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (I Peter 1:3-7)

Who can put a value on the work of God in a person’s life?  You may be going through some trials now, but what God is doing inside of you is of immeasurable value.  What He is doing in you is precious and pure and holy. 

*the preceding was an excerpt from my book, Calling Out to Deep 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Let Your Light Shine

On September 1st I was at the convenience store a couple of blocks from my home.  I was trying to get money from the ATM to do laundry at my apartment complex.  The girl at the cash register told me the ATM was not working, but recommended a place or two down the street.  I started that way, but then turned around and started back to my apartment.  I decided I'd drive to a gas station or something.  As I walked back past the convenience store the girl was sitting outside smoking a cigarette.  Somewhere in this process I felt the desire in my heart to talk to her about the Lord.  

So I went back to my apartment, without talking to her about Jesus.  I drove to the bank and got the cash I needed.  And then I went back to the apartment office to load money on my laundry card.  The office is across the street from the convenience store, and now I was looking for an excuse to go back in the store.  But I was afraid.  Even though I've done my share of witnessing, approaching a stranger to talk to them about their salvation is still not an easy thing for me to do.

Inside the store I grabbed a bottle of Cherry Coke and purchased it from the girl at the register.  Some words passed between the two of us and a couple of other customers at the store.  But I walked out without witnessing to her.  

As I got outside I finally worked up the courage to talk to her.  I went back in the store and asked her about her relationship with the Lord.  As I spoke I felt the words flowed.  She was receptive to what I said and very friendly.  It wasn't as hard to do as my fears indicated!  It helped that she was so friendly.

Sometimes the things we fear to do, when we step out and do them, are not as frightening after all.  I know in my own self I often struggle with fear, but God gives empowers!  

It's so much easier for me to go on a missions trip and share Christ with people in Honduras.  It's much harder for me to love people right here where I'm at, in the United States of America.  Yes, in many ways, people in Honduras seem more receptive.  And people in the United States often seem harder to reach.  Yet, everyone needs love, and everyone needs Jesus.  

Reaching out to someone may be as simple as planting a seed.  We often have no idea what significance our simple words may have in the life of another.  We will not know the full impact the words we speak and the love we show for Christ have in another person's life until we get to heaven.      

Tonight in choir I was reminded of this simple song, sung by Chris Rice:  "Go Light Your World."  May we all let our light shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More than Here

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
II Corinthians 3:18

I lean on You
in the hour of my trial
I know You are still with me
I do not say that because I think it is what You want to hear
or what I think faith would say
I say it because I know
You are here
in my darkest hour
and deepest trial
You are the friend closer than a brother
and my faithful brother, I long for You
my closest friend, I am calling out for You
most precious companion
be near to me
in the hour of my confusion
in the moment of my troubling regret
be the hand upon my shoulder
be the river that runs deep
may my carpet be Your banqueting table
this place where I shed tears
make my soul Your swimming pool
may my heart be the fountain You dance within
Your presence
I need You here
Your changing, transforming presence
do not just be here
I need You more than near
be in me and changing me
transforming me from glory to glory
make my life Your reflection pool
my unveiled face
a window into Your glory
a glimpse into heaven that someone may into peer
Your glory in the face of Jesus Christ
my face a reflection of a heart that has been filled
make this darkness a bastion of Your glory
my ashes a garden of Your beauty
from my shame shine Your bright-gleaming likeness
may my life tell Your story
my broken life possess this treasure
in my earthen vessel, may You be here
but be more than near
be more than here

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
II Corinthians 4:6

Monday, October 15, 2012

God Rules!

God is coming to rule.  Jesus returns to reign.  And when He comes He will reign in perfect righteousness. 

This past Sunday my pastor read from Revelation 19.  It says,

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war…. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:  king of kings and lord of lords.” (vs. 11, 14-16)

Often it does not seem like God is in charge.  But don’t be fooled.  Don’t be fooled by the news reports.  God rules and He reigns over all.  His kingdom rule and authority is the kingdom that really matters.  The real kingdom is His kingdom.  The true government is His government. 

Regardless of what happens in the upcoming election, in Israel, or any other place in the world, God can be in charge of your life.  Regardless of who wins the upcoming election, God is expanding His kingdom through you and me.  We are part of His end-time army reaping His end-time harvest.  And the kingdom we are expanding is one of “…righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit...” (Romans 14:17)

Where God rules there is peace.  He can bring about His justice, His good purpose, His wonderful plan in your life regardless of who is in power on this earth.  I am not saying we should not pray about the elections.  We all need to vote for righteous rulers, according to God’s word.  But ultimately we need to look to God and His rule.  We need to look up and set our eyes on Him because He reigns eternal.    

When we pray, we bring forth God’s kingdom on the earth.  He has given us authority in the realm of the spirit.  We need to exercise that authority with passion and persistence.  But, regardless of who is in power on earth, God’s plan is not thwarted.  All things will fall into place according to God’s eternal plan and purpose. 

The world is moving towards the culmination of the end of this age and to the return of Christ.  Satan rages for he knows that his time is short. (Revelation 12:12)  Pressure abounds all around us, but God is strong within us!  All things will be summed up in Christ.  Your life will be summed up in Him.  We will see Him come on clouds of glory.  He will bring forth perfect justice and perfect peace upon the earth.  And that includes all things which concern you and me.  All that is wrong will be made right.  His dominion will last forever.  He will rule the nations and reign over all!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

You

I have followed You for so long
and sometimes I wonder how it is I’ve taken my eyes off You
You have never changed
You have always been there
even in my darkest moments
I know I can turn to You
and praise
I have changed but You have not
I have strayed, but You have remained
You are still here and Your love is here with me
how I pray that You would show Yourself in a greater way than ever before
show Your love to me
for I am broken and I am in need
for I am hurting and I need Your love
for I am far away and I long to be brought near
to believe that time has not changed Your plan for me
to know that failure has not kept me from Your Plan
to know that You will take me back and bring me in
and lead me out
into the place You want me to be

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Agape

crushed under the weight of sound and fury
I sing a love song
I lift up my chorus to You
for You have poured out Agape upon me
into my heart
by the Holy Spirit, whom You have given
pressed down, but not destroyed
despairing of life, but refusing to give up
my heart is open, my hands
are wide to You
for there is no other name but Your beautiful name

buried in the agony of disappointment
I stand on a stage
and make a concert for You
for this anthem is one of hope
enduring, never-ending, ever persistent hope
the whole crowd swoons and sways to the sound
caught up in this moment, we are in another world
and we forget
we forget everything but Your sound
we forget our trials and tribulations
in the sound of Your voice
in the glory of this tribute
we disappear

we pay tribute to our tribulations
lest we forget the treasures gained in the darkest of darkness
here is a monument
an altar
here is a sacrifice of worship
where You cut me deep
and crushed me like grapes
where You pressed down hard
where You bound me and tied me up
from distress into a palace of glory
these troubles produce patience
patience, character
and character, hope
for Your love has been poured out
Agape is filling up my heart
and here in Your grace
I now stand


"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Romans 5:3-5

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

No Matter

no matter how deep the trial
He is deeper still
no matter how dark the night
He is ever brighter
no matter how grey the shadows
He illuminates the most dusty corner
He is Christ of the Deep
there He lifts His hands
and the shafts of His light
reach even the deepest ocean floor
no matter how raging is the storm
His love calms it all the more
no matter how tormenting the night
His hands meet yours
no matter how dismal the prison
His light penetrates 
His angels hold back the darkest foe
and His joy fills up your depth of brokenness
no matter the blustery pier
no matter the stormy sea before you
He walks on water
and reaches down in Love
no matter the despair filled the day
angels of grace surround you
no matter how far off the cry
His ear is attentive
He does not withhold His love
no matter how separated you feel
nothing can take you from His unfailing love
no matter how bruised the reed
He will not break
no matter how smoldering the wick
He will not snuff out
no matter how faint the flicker
He will not extinguish it
no matter how cool the ashes
He will bring new fire
humbled beneath His mighty hand
He will lift you up in due time
beauty for ashes
a garment of praise for despair
the oil of gladness
lift up your head
your redemption draws near
no matter how deep the trial
He is deeper still
no matter how dark the night
His is ever brighter
no matter how dwindling is your faith
He is faithful still
He is Christ of the deep
there He lifts up his hands to heaven for you

Prayer Equals Peace

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow...