Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Valley of Vision




Puritans. I know that when I hear that word, I think of "The Crucible" and "The Scarlet Letter", both of which I read at school. Awhile ago I came across a book of prayers from some of the great Puritan leaders called "The Valley of Vision" - many of these prayers have now been made into some absolutely beautiful songs. As an aside, I think it is rather ironic that the Puritans did not approve of what they termed "religious music" and yet now their prayers have been transformed into beautiful spiritual songs. Anyway here is a prayer that particular really struck me. It is the prayer titled "The Valley of Vision."

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.
No matter what I might have thought of the Puritan Christians in the past, I can see that they too struggled to live out their lives in glory to God. There is an immense depth to what their prayers speak of, and a depth that I think other believers can learn from! Have a blessed Sonday everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some reflections on Thanksgiving ...




Some reflections on Thanksgiving ...


This year has brought so many challenges upon us. We have struggled. We have laughed. We have cried. We have embraced. We have rolled our eyes. We have marveled at how bizarre God seems. It has been an incredible journey. It has been an incredibly difficult journey at times. It has been an incredibly rewarding journey--even if we don't yet see the results. We trust by faith that God would not lead us somewhere where His grace and provision would not abound.


And, whether we see it or not. Whether we appreciate it or not. Whether we understand it or not. God has not left us; He has not forsaken us; He is still--very actively, very presently--working all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. And that is worth giving thanks for.


I have every right to be Thankful. I have every right to enjoy a moment of reflection. It has been a interesting year for me, and I have survived, even thrived at times. In fact, I think I have survived well.


I have earned my pumpkin pie this year. (Don't tell my Doctor! lol) I plan on enjoying every last bite of it, too ... With lots of whipped cream! I hope you do, also. I hope that your heart is found in a spirit of Thankfulness. May we never forget all that Christ has accomplished for us. May we never cease to give thanks unto Him.


May God bless us with grace and peace, and mercy for those who are less fortunate than us.


Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Have a most blessed day!

Tim

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hidden Rooms



Hidden Rooms

The worn keyhole invites with faith’s bright promise,
But keyless hands have soiled the ancient door.
No admission, despite my pleading words.
Entry denied, against my angry fists.

Then submission bows and the door opens wide,
As boundless grace reveals the warm refuge.
Love’s obedience guides to calm communion
With God, my brothers and sisters, and self.

More hidden rooms whisper, “My child, come inside”.
As unlocked doors illuminate my soul.

~Chartreuse Ova

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Living With Uncertainity




I found myself time and again passing on the good advice I've had over the years. I don't always give advice though - sometimes I am still learning ... Praise God! I may know the answer from one perspective, that of one's own heart and of clear moral principle. However, I often don't know the answer in terms of getting from the situation someone else is in to a desired situation.


You know, though - I think I may have just listened to some good advice. How do I live with not 'knowing' God's will? How do I live with uncertainty? How do I live my own falling short?


The answer is the same I've given time and time again. You commit it to the Lord and put your heart in His hands. You don't live your life on hold. You embrace all possibilities God may send and commit to be faithful to the best of your ability in any of them.


What does this mean to me today? It means that even though I may have not made the wisest of decisions in all things, God will do what He wills, and I need to take the consequences, and work to bring Him glory in them despite my own failings... I need to work in the impossible situations to bring glory to Him! I need to rejoice in the Lord always, and in my rejoicing, He can bring His glory!


Just some thoughts ...

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Hunger




We hunger to be known and understood. We hunger to be loved. We hunger to be at peace inside our own skins. We hunger not just to be fed these things but, often without realizing it, we hunger to feed others these things because they too are starving for them. We hunger not just to be loved but to love, not just to be forgiven but to forgive, not just to be known and understood for all the good times and bad times that for better for worse have made us who we are, but to know and understand each other to the same point of seeing that, in the last analysis, we all have the same good times, the same bad times, and that for that very reason there is no such thing in all the world as anyone who is really a stranger.


Frederick Buechner from Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wile E. Coyote ~ Plan A




When I was a child, I used to sit for hours and watch Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show. In fact I have a couple DVD's now for the 'kids'! lol Of course I was always curious about why Wile E. Coyote kept trying to catch the Road Runner when he always failed. And of course I always wanted him to get that annoying bird! And I think I may have an answer of why he kept at it ... We live in a plan "B" world!


Plan "A" is what we want; what WE plan; our goals; our desires. Plan "A" is all about us, like the coyote was all about getting the Road Runner. We stress and obsess over our plans, giving not much regard for plan "B" possibilities. Plan "B" is what God's reality is for our lives. True, plan "B" can be painful and it can be unpleasant, but we were never guaranteed an easy ride through this life. Jesus tells us that we WILL have troubles, but don't worry ... He has given us exactly what we need to overcome the trials and troubles.


Now that I'm older I know that sometimes Plan "B" requires that we learn a lesson, sometimes it's just a matter of getting our eyes off of our wants. I also find the greatest joys I have had include (David Crowder Quote) "A Beautiful Collision". That's the point in which God's will for my life and my hearts truest desire collide. God's plan for my life has turned out WAY better than the measly plans I thought up! We worry and stress too much! But we are commanded in Scripture to turn all our anxieties over to God and let Him worry for us (1 Peter 5:6-7). I'm all in favor of "letting go and let God" because I manage to botch things up every time without even trying!


So the moral of this story? Want less stress? Turn it over to God and TURN LOOSE, you're going to need both hands for this adventure ride!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yesterday & Tomorrow ~ A quote to ponder ...




"There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension. One of these days is yesterday with it's mistakes and cares, it's aches and pains, it's faults and blunders. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We can not undo a single act we performed; we can not erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone! The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow. With it's possible adversities, it's burdens, it's large promise... Tomorrow is beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow's sun will rise either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn. That leaves only one day, Today. Any man or woman by the grace of God, can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two other eternities; yesterday and tomorrow that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives man mad; it is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us, therefore, Journey but One Day At A Time."

K. Rogerson

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Life as a House

What kind of house are you? Sure .... Why not?

Click here: What Kind of House would you be? - Quiz Get More Quizzes at Quizilla

My result:


Mansion
You like things big, bold, and flashy. Glamor is a necessity in your life; who doesn't like a little luxury? You enjoy nice things, have an awesome sense of style, and you are probably pretty popular. Your life is pretty great. ;)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Set on Fire!




The ennobling power of love

When a human heart is set on fire with love, the entire human being is enlightened by its radiance. All extraneous things step back to the background, and a soul can completely, sometimes even ecstatically, plunge into contemplation of the beloved one. Even the most dry and boring people change when they fall in love, their soul softening and becoming bright, as if having wings. For other people a person who is loved by someone does not seem to be any better or more handsome than others, but for the lover he or she is the only one, the incomparable and the irreplaceable. This is the idealization that is so often described in literature. It means that through an external cover, we, in light of love, see the ideal side of the loved one which is hidden from others. It is present in every human being, as an image of God, not noticeable, and very often suppressed by the external shell, by appearance or "character," which is always something secondary, and not representing the "essence."

All the power of love consists in the fact that through love we are as though touching upon the internal beauty of a human being. We cannot leave the person ... we would like to be joined with the loved one forever. A soul that has experienced those feelings even once will preserve memories about their transforming and creative power for the rest of its life.

It is exactly in the rushes of love that a soul experiences a deep need to come out of the boundaries of its own personality in order to be united with a loved one. The need for love witnesses that it is impossible to retire into oneself, all the natural limits of individuality are overcome in love, and its shell is torn apart. That is why in the rushes of love a human being starts to be burdened by himself: to retire into oneself, in the light of love, means to condemn oneself to loneliness, to find oneself in a metaphysical emptiness. That is why our soul is tirelessly looking for somebody to love in order to find a point of rest and a purpose for existence.

The power of poetic imagination that is so characteristic for young love, through which we idealize a loved one, is not some play of fantasy. On the contrary, it reveals a deep thirst for a spiritual and absolute life.

There is so much in these paragraphs that resound deeply within my soul I can't really summarize it!

Tim

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Some Ignatius for a Sunday ...




Pray unceasingly for the rest of men...Meet their angry outbursts with your own gentleness, their boastfulness with your humility, their revilings with your prayers, their error with your constancy in the faith and their harshness with your meekness.


- Ignatius of Antioch

Epistle to the Ephesians

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Gifting of Friends




The Gift Of Friends...

There are days when
bubbling from us comes
the innocent child within,
who giggles at the little things
and wears a silly grin.

There are days when
melancholy comes to
visit for a while;
the mind feels tired, the body weak;
we have no strength to smile.

There are days when
joy abundant
grabs a hold of you and me;
wraps us up in all it's splendor,
lifts us up and sets us free.

There are days when
sorrow wraps us
in its cloak of grief and fear,
'till our hearts ache to the breaking,
'till our eyes can't shed a tear.

There are days when
love bestows us
with its wonderment and light;
with its beauty and its mystery,
its power and its might.

And there are days when
life rewards us
and seems to make amends
by granting us a marvelous gift,
the precious gift of Friends.

by: Karen Schaefer

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bread and Water




COMMONEST THINGS BLESSED

‘Ye shall serve the LORD your God,and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water.’-Exodus 23:25

WHAT a promise is this! To serve God is in itself a high delight. But what an added privilege to have the blessing of the Lord resting upon us in all things! Our commonest things become blessed when we ourselves are consecrated to the Lord. Our Lord Jesus took bread and blessed it; behold, we also eat of blessed bread. Jesus blessed water and made it wine: the water which we drink is far better to us than any of the wine with which men make merry; every drop has a benediction in it. The divine blessing is on the man of God in everything, and it shall abide with him at every time.

What if we have only bread and water! Yet it is blessed bread and water. Bread and water we shall have. That is implied, for it must be there for God to bless it. ‘Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy waters shall be sure.’ With God at our table, we not only ask a blessing, but we have one. It is not only at the altar but at the table that He blesses us. He serves those well who serve Him well. This table-blessing is not of debt, but of grace. Indeed, there is a treble grace; He grants us grace to serve Him, by His grace feeds us with bread, and then in His grace blesses it.

-C.H. Spurgeon ~ Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, Daily Entry

Have a blessed day everyone!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Isaiah 61 ~ Oaks




I have some time this evening so I thought I would share one of my most favorite passages of scripture ...


Isaiah 61


"The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.

He sent me to preach good news to the poor,

heal the heartbroken,

Announce freedom to all captives,

pardon all prisoners.

God sent me to announce the year of his grace,

a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies,

and to comfort all who mourn,

To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,

give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,

Messages of joy instead of news of doom,

a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.

Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness"

planted by God to display his glory.

will sing for joy in God,

explode in praise from deep in my soul!

He dressed me up in a suit of salvation,

he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness,

As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo

and a bride a jeweled tiara.

For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers,

and as a garden cascades with blossoms,

So the Master, God,

brings righteousness into full bloom

and puts praise on display before the nations.



In reading the Gospels I am keenly interested in observing the ministry of Jesus Christ, His attitude towards those who were acknowledged, confessed sinners. To the woman that was brought to Him caught in the very act of adultery, He shows great tenderness, understanding and grace. "Woman, where are your accusers?" "Sir, I guess I don't have any." "Well, neither do I condemn thee, go thy way, sin no more." (John 8) Oh, how tender He deals with her. Then there is the woman at the well in Samaria. Now she wasn't the most moral woman around obviously. She had been married to five different men. And then finally decided marriage wasn't for her and so she was just living with a man. And yet Jesus in His dealing with her was so gracious, revealing to her His identity. Oh, the attitude of Christ towards the sinner was always beautiful! He had good news for sinning man and those that confessed and were aware of their sinful state. "Bouquets of roses instead of ashes" indeed!

Have a blessed evening everyone!~

Tim

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Lyrical Commentary on Scandals




These words by James Watkins summarize many of my feelings about the various Christian leadership scandals, but many others in our church universal where individuals are set up for temptation and failure by a system which isolates and flatters them. The church is supposed to be a body–a family–a place of intimacy and accountability. The way that we often do church makes it more like a free market corporation or something like that …. pedestals


Thousands

cheer,
chant,
and clap
as one of their own
is proudly carried toward the
lofty pedestal.
The audience

urges him
up the stairway,
step by step,
higher and higher,
far above the masses
on the prominent platform.
The media is there

with lights,
cameras
and prime-time coverage.
Publishers huddle

around the base,
for they know
pedestal-people
sell well.
The crowds

on satellite hook-ups
hang on
every last word,
for he seems
so close to eternity.
Yet he feels

unsure,
unworthy,
afraid
and very alone . . .
But at that height

no one notices,
no one questions,
no one confronts.
And so,

in a split second,
the trap door swings,
the noose tightens,
the crowd gasps.
Undeterred, the mob moves on

to build more pedestals;
to encourage another
of their own
up the starlit steps.
But mostly

to wonder
why those
at the pinnacle
keep falling
from the heights.
© 1988 James N. Watkins

Thursday, November 5, 2009

invisable, unbelievable and impossible!




"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible."


~Corrie Ten Boom

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

mystical law of nature




There is a wonderful, mystical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life ...-happiness, freedom, and peace of mind are always attained by giving them to someone else. --


Unknown Author

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I can't thank you enough! Psalm 30



A Psalm I really feel led to share with you all. Have a blessed evening everyone!

Tim

Psalm 30 A David Psalm
1 I give you all the credit, God— you got me out of that mess,
you didn't let my foes gloat.

2-3 God, my God, I yelled for help
and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave,
gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out.

4-5 All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.

6-7 When things were going great
I crowed, "I've got it made.
I'm God's favorite.
He made me king of the mountain."
Then you looked the other way
and I fell to pieces.

8-10 I called out to you, God;
I laid my case before you:
"Can you sell me for a profit when I'm dead?
auction me off at a cemetery yard sale?
When I'm 'dust to dust' my songs
and stories of you won't sell.
So listen! and be kind!
Help me out of this!"

11-12 You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I'm about to burst with song;
I can't keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can't thank you enough.