Monday, August 24, 2009

Building Materials

Christ is building His Kingdom with Earth's broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth's broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth's saddest failure up to heaven's glory.
~ J. R. Miller
Turn off the "Beautiful Music" and listen to Selah's "God Bless The Broken Road"
"He hath made everything beautiful in His time..."
~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Music Of The Storm

"Nevertheless Afterward"
(Hebrews 12:11)
There is a legend that tells of a German baron, who, at his castle on the Rhine, stretched wires from tower to tower, that the winds might convert them into an Aeolian harp. And the soft breezes played about the castle, but no music was born. But one night there arose a great tempest, and hill and castle were smitten by the fury of the mighty winds. The Baron went to the threshold to look out upon the terror of the storm, and the Aeolian harp was filling the air with strains that rang out even above the clamor of the tempest. It needed the tempest to bring out the music!
And have we not known men whose lives have not given out any entrancing music in the day of a calm prosperity, but who, when the tempest drove against them have astonished their fellows by the power and strength of their music?
Rain, rain,
Beating against the pane!
How endlessly it pours
Out of doors
From the blackened sky
I wonder why!
Flowers, flowers,
Upspringing after showers,
Blossoming fresh and fair,
Ah, God has explained
Why it rained!
You can always count on God to make the "afterward" of difficulties, if rightly overcome, a thousand times richer and fairer than the forward. "No chastening... seemeth joyous, nevertheless afterward..." What a yield!
(taken from "Streams In The Desert" ~ compiled by Mrs. Charles Cowman)
"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Hebrews 12:11
And He that sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said unto me, "Write: for these words are true and faithful." Revelation 21:5
"He hath made everything beautiful in His time..." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bird-Brain Building Projects

The cats were in a frenzy this morning, and as I passed the window at the kitchen sink, that looks onto my porch, I knew why. I was treated to a very close 'fly-by' –I nearly lost my cup of tea - my robin was back! Every spring, its renewed efforts to build a nest on top of my kitchen window amaze me! After humoring this bird the first time it succeeded, (I was thinking it was cute!), I decided (and so did hubby), that putting up with the twigs, grasses, and bits of whatever, floating down and collecting on the porch deck, just wasn't going to happen! (And, in all fairness, for its own 'peace of mind' - we won't frighten it every time the door is opened as we go in and out!) So I begin again… to get my broom, to swipe along the top of the crown molding to remove the “building materials” before any foundation can be laid. This bird will just have to pick a different spot! Yet, year after year, it comes back, checking out this building site -- you can almost see the wheels in its bird-brain spinning, endeavoring to make this work out once again. How persistent they are! I will roll up a section of newspaper again this year, and place it on the top ledge, to block the space - “no nesting allowed!”
But every year, their hope returns.

I wonder how often, we display the same “bird-brain” tendencies ~ to be persistent in our building projects: in the dreams we build and the goals we set up; in our determined efforts to see each dream and goal fulfilled according to how we envisioned it; and to plot our course of action based on what we ‘know’ ~ drawing upon previous experiences and/or traditions.

After all, nobody wants to move forward “blindly” ~ and, certain ‘methods’ guarantee results. Certain locations seem ‘safe and secure’…

But "God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts" ~ Isaiah 55:8-9. As God purposed to build His people, and settle them in His promised land, He moved them out, to cross the Jordan River, in “a new way” -- instructing them to follow the ark of the covenant:

“When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then you shall move from your place and go after it. Yet keep a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, so that you may know the way by which you must go. For you have not passed this way before now." Joshua 3:3-4

“You have not passed this way before”

When the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, God had parted the waters before anyone moved ahead. They saw the wonders of God, as He ‘made a way’ for them. Now, as God begins a new chapter in their lives, He tells them, “you have not passed this way before.” There were no experiences to rely upon, and no traditions to fall back on. They could only trust that God would, again, ‘make a way’ ~ and the proof of their trust would be evidenced in their obedience – as they ‘followed on.’

“When you see the ark… follow it!”

This time the waters didn’t part until the priests stepped out in faith. This time, they had to get their feet wet! They were learning to "walk by faith." This beautiful Old Testament picture is for every believer today ~ how we, too, must walk by faith -- only 'moving from our place' as we follow after God's Voice -- this is 'the way by which we must go.' It is the way of faith. It takes just as much faith to 'stay in your place' - waiting for His signal - as it does to 'move out' when you hear His Voice. In fact, often, it requires greater faith to 'wait.' How many times have we formed a 'terrific plan' to carry out a 'good work' - in the absence of a specific word from God? Our best thinking - apart from His direction - is not Faith -- it's 'Labor and Spin.' But, the world tells us: "Don't just stand there... do something!" As a 'people' ~ we tend to want to be seen as: 'doing something'... rather than: 'standing before the LORD - waiting on Him.' But God says:
"Don't just 'do something' ~ Stand there!"

Wait for God's direction ~ and then, follow Him, one step at a time. The only ‘word’ the Israelites had from God: “when you see the ark… follow it!” They had to ‘follow on to know – to know the way to go.” How beautifully this, too, pictures Jesus ~ Who is "The Way" and we must keep our eyes on Him!

"And I will bring the blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. I will do these things to them, and not forsake them."
Isaiah 42:16

"For we walk by faith, not by sight" 2 Corinthians 5:7

God is the Architect of every ‘building project’ we encounter – when we live our lives in Him.
King David (the most likely writer of Psalm 127) exhorts his son, Solomon ~

“Unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Psalm 127:1

We can be ‘bird-brained’ oftentimes, though, … formulating a vision of what the outcome should be, and working towards that end… the result? “Wood, hay, and stubble”—1 Corinthians 3:12.

"...But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." 1 Corinthians 3:10-13

When we surrender our building projects to the LORD ~ it is an act of worship! We worship in the beauty of holiness ~ bringing Him our gifts of gold, silver, and precious stones! Our 'beautiful surrender' brings glory to His Name! Then, we find ourselves in the Valley of Blessing~

"O our God, ...we have no might... neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon You"
2 Chronicles 20:12

"The valley of Berachah"

“And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD…” 2 Chronicles 20:26

Simply ‘follow on’ ~ in one step of faith at a time. Wait for His Voice, and then follow as He calls! As another “lily” most profoundly sings:

“Could it be that He is only waiting there to see
If I will learn to love the dreams that He has dreamed for me?”

He is the Master-Builder, and His designs and dreams for you may include castles!
“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”

“I Will Listen”
by Twila Paris
Hard as it seems
Standing in dreams
Where is the dreamer now?

Wonder if I wanted to try
Would I remember how?
I don’t know the way to go from here
But I know that I have made my choice
This is where I stand until He moves me on
And I will listen to His voice

This is the faith
Patience to wait
When there is nothing clear
Nothing to see
Still we believe
Jesus is very near
I cannot imagine what will come
But I’ve already made my choice
And this is where I stand until He moves me on
And I will listen to His voice

Could it be that He is only waiting there to see
If I will learn to love the dreams that He has dreamed for me
Can’t imagine what the future holds
But I’ve already made my choice
And this is where I stand until He moves me on
And I will listen to His voice

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Song of Solomon 2:11-13

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Calling Of Your Hearts

For my Daddy ~
He went "home for Christmas" -- On December 23, 2008
(from Dad's memorial service: January 3, 2009)

The Wedding Song” is a classic love song, which Paul Stookey, of “Peter, Paul, and Mary” –wrote for Peter’s wedding. He shares how the lyrics came to him:

"Lord," I prayed, "nothing would bless this wedding ceremony more than Your presence. How would You manifest Yourself?"
And the lyrics came: “I am now to be among you at the calling of your hearts…”

Paul changed the “I” to “He” – to tell how God’s presence blesses a marriage. I pray that, today, His presence would bless this “marriage ceremony” as well, – for in reality, my Dad is united with the Bride Groom ~

Jesus Christ!

The Calling of Your Hearts – to A Beautiful Life!!

My Dad – you’d often find him on the floor. Rolling on it, that is, laughing…

Mom and Dad just got a computer. And recently, my sister, Sue, sent them an email… and it so happens that the time Mom and Dad were reading it, Sue called… mom says… “Dad’s on the floor”...

My cousin Chip was telling us this week, how he remembers when my dad came up to NY from PA, looking for work. He was staying at Uncle Carl’s house. Dad would watch Saturday morning cartoons with him. Dad would be watching The Road Runner,
rolling on the floor laughing --- Chip would be watching Dad!

Many of you remember Dad’s “Charlie” jokes… Chip asked me how I was going to handle “Charlie” --- there, I just did!

My Dad had a few favorite sayings…. When I drive, I find myself repeating some of them! If Dad got behind a slow driver, he’d say… “I’m gonna suck you up my exhaust” – I always wondered how that would work … since the exhaust pipe is in the rear of the car and the people driving below the speed limit were in front of him!

Regarding things that would irritate him…. such as the white fuzzy seeds on the trees in June, that would clog the pool filter… Dad would say, “I’m gonna dynamite it!” (the trees, not the pool!) Both his dad and mom’s dad worked in the coal mines in PA, and in those days, they’d just have some dynamite laying around…. I’m sure he wishes he brought some to NY!

The one word I catch myself saying – probably too many times a day - is “STUPID!”
Now, Dad NEVER called any of us that!! THIS ONLY APPLIED TO INANIMATE OBJECTS & SITUATIONS. For example, today, on the way to the service, I was eating a clementine -- that is a tangerine that doesn't have seeds. Well, every piece I ate had at least 2 or 3 seeds in it! I told Tom – "It’s STUPID!" Anything that didn’t go “right” – or work “right” – was STUPID. So I was thinking about this… If anything is stupid – you dynamite it!
I’m sure he’s on Heaven’s floor right now!

Mom was telling us this week – how, when they were dating, he would suggest they go parking in the PA mountains … but mom was afraid of bears! We’re all thinking that was dad’s point… she’d stick pretty close to him.

High School… We often heard the story of Typing class… where mom would raise her hand, and say, “Mr. ....., my typewriter isn’t working!” – meanwhile, dad, who was sitting behind her, had stretched his foot forward, to nudge the plug out of the outlet just enough…. Of course, as the teacher was coming to fix the problem, he’d push it back in, and then, the typewriter worked. As soon as the teacher walked away, ….. mom would be saying, “Mr. ….., my typewriter isn’t working again!” Dad would be laughing!

Dad loved Elvis, and for his 50th birthday, we all arranged for Elvis to show up at the house! I can still hear dad sing, “There Will Be Peace In The Valley…. for me…. someday.” That day is here.

At Christmas, you could never tell what your present was by the size or shape of the box… I think the grandsons have requested a few Nintendo or PlayStation games, only to open a box of Huggies Diapers. Dad loved video games, too…. In fact, this year, he bought himself a PS3 –

Mom would call him John Bull or Johnny Bull – the Englishman – if they got into a disagreement…. Dad would be laughing. I can, in all honesty, tell you, that a disagreement between them, was very rare in our house. That’s a testimony to the kind of marriage they had.

Speaking of Englishmen…. Dad now knows I’m the one that started the “007” pranks on him at Christmas for several years – It goes like this:

Graham. John Graham. 007-275. Licensed to:____. (plunge toilets / hammer nails into 2 X 4’s…) "Whatever"… It varied year to year. He would’ve made a great "Bond"… with his very handsome looks, his quick smile, and his somewhat protruding belly…

The “275” is just his house number – though, I wouldn’t be surprised if it reflected the number of ladies’ broken hearts – because Dad was a GREAT CATCH! BUT - he was totally a one-woman man. My mom has at least one close girlfriend who likes to call him ‘boyfriend’ -- her name happens to be Judy, too!

I dragged my mom and my sister Sue, into this “007 drama" – where we’d write teaser notes and drop off ‘gag’ gifts – usually beginning a few days before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we would leave Tom’s parents’ house late, and on the way home, we’d drive up my parents’ road, and I’d jump out – with a sign attached to a large stake, and a sledge hammer. I’d pound it in his front yard – 20 feet from the house, right smack in the middle of his big front window – so he couldn’t miss it Christmas morning. Then I’d try to erase my foot prints in the snow!

The toughest drop-off was always later Christmas Day -- Trying to make it seem that the “gift” didn’t appear the same time we all did! That was always the “grand finale."

We veered off the “Bond image” at times, creating identities for him – that reflected his life, his career, or his interests: ELVIS; GRAMBO; MR. MOM; JOHN – THE JOHN-MAN … (that was more of a ‘honey-do’ theme, rather than a plumber…. you know... a ‘Tim the tool-man Taylor’ -type)… One year, we left a message for 007-275 on a roll of toilet paper – the roll was on a broomstick, set up in the rafters of the garage ceiling, in front of his kitchen door. We pulled down the toilet paper to reveal the message. That might have been: “John the John-Man” year.

Today he’s ---- Graham. John Graham. 007-275. Licensed to live forever!

Dad is one of 9 kids …. His mom, is 98 yrs. old! There are 10 kids in mom’s family… So there are many brothers, sisters, in-laws, nieces and nephews….
And everyone just loves him!

Dad’s family always had a very large garden, full of strawberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, and every veggie you can grow. And he had a beautiful garden, too.

Dad and I know GOOD DIRT. Especially the smell of it! One summer in the Adirondacks, browsing the shops in Lake George, I was smelling the rose-scented soaps, and lavender sachets, … and a sales-lady came over and wanted to show me a particular variety. She opened the lid of a jar, and shoved it under my nose…. And exclaimed, “you’ll just never guess what scent this is!” She was so certain I wouldn’t figure it out!! “Dirt” I replied! “No, no,” she said, “it’s mud!” I told my dad - “I’d recognize that smell anywhere!” I learned that from him.

There’s nothing like the smell of dirt when it’s tilled and ready to plant! My dad and I would get down on our knees, and he had a way of running his hand through the dirt, spreading it out, scooping some up, running it through his hands, evaluating the color, the richness, the content – usually how much compost it contained – and he’d say to me, “now, that’s good dirt!”

Like the Huggies Diapers… Dad’s presents were fun! – Him and mom, and the rest of our family, Tom’s family included -- “pitched” in, and got me 40 – 40lb bags of cow manure, for my 40th birthday. I think I only asked for 1 or 2!

And he taught us well! -- For Father’s Day, one year, …my sisters and I showed up - the day before, to “hang out” with dad. We were also waiting for his present to arrive! A big red dump truck pulled up, backing into his driveway, and the guy got out, and asked my dad, “Where do you want it?” Dad didn’t know that we had gotten him 8 yards of DIRT for Father’s Day. [I hate to say, I don’t think any of us stuck around to help him move it all to the backyard!] I think mom was in on that one, too! She also loves to garden! They shared many, many hours of gardening – just one example of the knitting together of their hearts in like passions. They have planted a glimpse of heaven in their backyard!

John and Judy ~ The Second Greatest Love Story Ever!
They HAVE a love that is endless: a love that abides forever –
They HAVE a love that knows no bounds: Life cannot measure it. Death cannot extinguish it.
They HAVE a love that is “perfect” – in the Biblical use of the word – meaning “complete.” They “complete” each other. They were made for each other. The Lord God called their hearts to each other, and to Him.

In Genesis 2, God established His DESIGN for the relationship between a man and a woman:
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." ~ Genesis 2:24

In Ephesians 5, Paul lays down the principles of marriage to be followed – following the example of Jesus Christ. (This is what I call the “marriage dance” – in this sense, boy did mom and dad know how to dance well!!)

"Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God ~
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Savior of the body…

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word…

So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord loves the church…"
~ Ephesians 5:21-33

Today, I stand before you as a witness – to testify of the love between my dad and my mom – And the obedience of my Dad to the Word of God: “to love as Christ loves.” This is his legacy!

Pastor and Bible Commentator, John MacArthur, expounds on this, in his “Divine Directive for Husbands” - when I read this, I think of my Dad.
He writes ~
“The Lord's pattern of love for His church is the husband's pattern of love for his wife, and it is characterized by – A Sacrificial Love --- in caring, in protecting, and in providing for her. Christ loved the church by giving "Himself up for her." The husband who loves his wife as Christ loves His church will give up everything he has for his wife, including his life if necessary.”

He continues… “ … it is much more difficult to make lesser, but actual sacrifices for your wife…. Husbands, when you put aside your own likes, desires, opinions, preferences, and welfare to please your wife and meet her needs, then you are truly dying to self to live for your wife. And that is what Christ's love demands.”

This is how my Dad lived and loved. We have witnessed his “Christ-like love” – demonstrated over and over again, in the love he had for mom, and for each of us girls. He is the most loving, unselfish, generous man we've ever known. He knows what it means to lay down his life for his wife and his daughters – He loves as Christ loves.

Paul writes in Philippians ~
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition… but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who… made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant… " ~ Philippians 2:3-7

And Jesus tells His disciplies in Matthew ~
"Whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be chief among you, let him be your servant; even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." ~ Matthew 20:26-28

This describes my Dad – He was a “servant chief.” Mom tells us, he let her be “boss” every other day!

Dad had a ‘servant’s heart’ -- One WEED you’d never find in the “garden of Dad’s life” - was
SELF-AMBITION. He had no “Ambition” to be a “Somebody”… rather, he esteemed us as his "somebodies" -- and he always "worked to make things happen" for us – whatever we needed – help, support, wisdom, counsel, muscle -- it wasn’t ever about money – though he would have gladly given that, too -- if needed…. It was about HIS PRESENCE. And in that he was Christ-like! He did ‘his part’ and was content in that -- to be the best husband and father ever, and to love self-sacrificially as Christ loves His Bride – that is, His Church.

Jesus said ~
"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." ~ John 15:12-13

This is where the seed of a beautiful life is planted, and grows, by the power of God and the provision of God. It is only the power of God that can enable us to love one another in this way. When you see God’s “agape” love – that is, His unconditional love, shining out of the life of His child, then, you have seen a visible representation of God -- for God is love.

And today, I stand as a witness before you, that I have seen God --- flowing out of the life of my dad.

A Love That Is Better Than Life!
The Psalmist wrote:
“Because Your love (O, LORD!) is better than life, my lips will glorify You” ~ Psalm 63:3

Dad’s love for us, like our Heavenly Father’s love, was better than life! And here’s the KEY: He was able to love the way he did, with the love of Christ, because he loved God!

Jesus declares His Father’s command for life:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Matthew 22:37-39

As I read the following, many of you will recall the times when my dad loved you ~ What does the love of Christ look like?

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

God invites each of us into a love relationship with His Son. This is our High Calling…
THE CALLING OF OUR HEARTS ~ To know Him, to love Him, and to love one another.

Responding To This Call – Produces An Abundant Life!!
Jesus said --
“The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they might have LIFE, and that they might have it more abundantly.” ~ John 10:10

An Abundant life is a A fruitful life –
"The fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." ~ Galatians 6:2

Dad was a “fruity guy” – what can I say!!! – the only time he lost control – was when he was on the floor laughing!

This is the kind of life that Jesus fills us with, when we trust in Him! And this enables us to view “LIFE” through God’s eternal perspective. Then, how we react to the circumstances LIFE throws at us …will change, because of His presence –
1 Corinthians 13:12 - tells us that:
"Now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face..."

I know God has a purpose in allowing this tragic event – though we may not see it clearly, yet. His Word tells us that He works all things for good – FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM! I may be tempted to say, “this is so "STUPID" -- as dad would say

But WAIT! … He isn't saying that -- because "now he sees "face to face" -- and we only see through a glass darkly! I might say "stupid" -- but Dad now knows the reason why God allowed this to touch our lives! I imagine he's up there, cheering us on - to keep running this race -
"till God makes everything beautiful -- in His time!"

The Greatest Love Story Ever…
From God’s perspective – being that He’s “outside of time”…. Life doesn’t end – The question is… where will you spend it?

We have just celebrated Christmas, celebrating the birth of Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, whom He gave to us, because He so loved us – and for us who have placed our faith in Him, we will have eternal life: living with Him, in His presence. This is the reason for the season – the reason God sent His Son. (John 3:16)

This is what mom told us – as we gathered around my Dad, early Tuesday morning, December 23, right after he had moved to heaven. It’s all about Jesus ~ He was born to die -- so that we can live forever!

"This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." ~ 1 John 5:11-12

This is “ The Calling of Your Hearts” – to An Eternal Life!!
Pursue God with all of your heart! And you will discover the life my Dad lives ~

All Because Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

We are called to be the Bride of Christ - And Dad is getting dressed for the Wedding!

"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His Bride has made herself ready... Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb…" ~ Revelation 19:7-9

"And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new." ~ Revelation 21:5

Have You Responded To This Calling?

Friday, November 21, 2008

White Rain

"Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?"
Job 38:22

The Lord God asked Job (in Job 38) ~ "Does the rain have a father? Who gives birth to the frost?" The answer is obvious...

"This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working." Isaiah 28:29

In the New Testament, James tells us:

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17

God's "gifts" include the rain and the snow ~ even if we don't like the cold! Each season, in fact, each morning, brings God's Provisions -- new mercies we see! His faithfulness is so great - it reaches to the heavens! And includes everything He sends from heaven.

"Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds." Psalm 36:5

"...All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! --

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest;

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above -

Join with all nature in manifold witness -

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love!"

In 1923, hymn writer, Thomas Chisholm, wrote: "GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS" ~ Truly, God is so faithful to provide all we need! And this can be our 'song' as we consider our Thanksgiving holiday approaching. Enjoy listening to "Selah's" Todd Smith sing this marvelous hymn, knowing how deeply he understands God's faithfulness, experiencing it first hand. (click here: for the article about his daughter / and his wife's blog: "Bring The Rain")

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see.

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

(verse 1):

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father; There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

(verse 2):

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest: Sun, moon and stars in their courses above, Join with all nature in manifold witness, To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

(verse 3):

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth; Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High: To show forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night..." Psalm 92:1-2

"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: 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." Lamentations 3:22-25

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Beautiful Words, Wonderful Words, Wonderful Words of Life!

Hymns ~ are simply beautiful words, put to beautiful music, that "knit" our hearts together with those who love them -- throughout the ages! When someone speaks of their love for hymns, if you love hymns, something deep inside of your heart cries, "Yes! I know!" And this is a 'knowledge of experience' ~ as those who love hymns have found, the Spirit of God has a way of bringing those inspired words into your head, to speak to your heart, at just the time you need them! "Fill my cup, LORD, with that 'soul-quenching water' that never runs dry!" Hymns satisfy a thirst, like no other songs can do. Oh, that we would draw from this well of worship, and learn what "true worship" really is! Sadly, in some areas of our country, we have a whole generation of young people who simply don't know this heritage of our faith.

I found someone who knows this blessing of "growing up" with these inspired works of God!" I pray that God would use her, and the talent she recognizes He has given her, to restore a love for hymns in a new generation! Enjoy listening, as this "lily of the field" shares her thoughts about "hymns" ~ and then, "sings her soul"...

Carrie Underwood singing "How Great Thou Art" ~
Live from The Grand Ole Opry

For more Beautiful Music:

Beautiful Words, Wonderful Words, Wonderful Words of Life

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


"He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass:

as showers that water the earth."

Psalm 72:6

"O how pleasant are the effects of rain to languishing plants, to make them green and beautiful, lively and strong, fragrant and beautiful! So the effects of Christ's influences are most desirable to drooping souls, for enlightening and enlivening them, for confirming and strengthening them, for comforting and enlarging them, for appetizing and satisfying them, transforming and beautifying them. A shower from Christ would soon make the church, though withered, turn green and beautiful, and to send forth a smell as of a field that the Lord hath blessed...

...As nothing can stop the falling of the rain; so nothing can hinder Christ's gracious influences, when He designs to awake, convince, or soften a hard heart. When those showers do fall on sinners, the most 'obstinate will' must yield, and cry, 'Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?' "

~ John Willison

As he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, 'Saul, Saul...'
And he said, Who art Thou, Lord?
And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom you persecute. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.
And he trembling and astonished said, 'Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?'

Acts 9:3-6

Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.
My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.

Deuteronomy 32:1-4