Sing Gently as One

17,572 singers from 129 countries come together to perform Eric Whitacre’s
“Sing Gently”. Produced by Music Productions

⁣MAY WE SING TOGETHER, ALWAYS,⁣⁣ ⁣⁣MAY OUR VOICE BE SOFT,⁣⁣ ⁣⁣
MAY OUR SINGING BE MUSIC FOR OTHERS,⁣⁣
AND MAY IT KEEP OTHERS ALOFT.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣
SING GENTLY, ALWAYS,⁣⁣ SING GENTLY AS ONE.⁣⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣⁣MAY WE STAND TOGETHER, ALWAYS,⁣⁣ ⁣⁣
MAY OUR VOICE BE STRONG,⁣⁣ ⁣⁣MAY WE HEAR THE SINGING, ALWAYS,⁣⁣
AND MAY WE ALWAYS SING ALONG.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣
SING GENTLY, ALWAYS,⁣⁣ SING GENTLY AS ONE.

Gracious Father, let us sing together for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Memorization versus Technology

We are losing our minds to the world’s way of thinking. Even Christians are forgetting that God gave us the gift of memory by which to store His precious Word.

Electronic devices are good in their place, but they can never give us life or accompany us to the grave.

When we are dying, we cannot hold a phone in our hands. If the only data we have is stored in our devices, our spirit and soul will have nothing to hold to.

As God’s people, we must commit to memory the truths of His Word. This is the only means for living and dying in peace with Him.

Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, teaches us the importance of God’s Word. The following are a few of these verses as my prayer.

 Psalm 119:

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

83 For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.

92 Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction

.93 I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.

105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

109 My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.

111 Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

152 Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.

154 Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.

Related Article: The Idolatry of Technology

The Eyes of Agony

Looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God
and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Titus 2:13

Jerry was taken to ER on May 26 where the medical staff did not see a possibility of his surviving. I paced and prayed outside while Lee was with her dad. Then, seemingly better, after I was with him, he was taken to ICU.

As we waited at home, overnight, to hear results from tests and an ultrasound of his heart, my most excruciating thoughts turned to the stark probability of losing the man with whom I had spent the last fifty-nine years.

I agonized, seeing what seemed inevitable ~imagining what my life would be without him.

Then, came the vision of how I would have to let go of what I held dear and precious, the man I loved, especially the last thirteen years as Jerry’s caregiver.

As I agonized over what I faced, I was reminded of the agony of my Lord and Savior.

First, in the garden of Gethsemane, he saw the vision of His cross, sweating drops of blood as He prayed. What awaited Him was the fierce reality of separation from His Father as He would suffer for the sins of His people.

Then, he knew that in order to save us, He would have to let go of His own will and life. He gave way to the will of the Father and gave all to Him for our salvation.

“NOT MY WILL”

“Not my will, but thine be done” is only possible in our lives through the humble, sacrifice Jesus made for us.

As I write this, three weeks after Jerry’s death, June 1, the words, “Not my will” are late in coming. But I must give all to Him, submitting to the will of the Father even as He did. Jesus’ death and resurrection are the means for me to live without Jerry until He brings me to glory with them.

As He leads, I must walk hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart with Him through this valley of tears and agony, keeping my eyes on the hope that is set before me ~ the hope He secured for me on Calvary.

By His grace, Andy, our son, Lee, and I were blessed to be with Jerry the second night in ICU and the last four days in Hospice. It was during those days He was preparing us to see the Father’s will and to hope in His will for our future.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down
at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2

Keep yourselves in the love of God,
 looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ 
unto eternal life.”
Jude 1:21

Dear Father in heaven, by the precious gift of eternal life through Jesus, your Son, you have made it possible for us to endure the pain and sorrows of this world. Thank you for the love, mercy, and hope you bestow on us as your children. Let me remember you are my Maker and my Husband and you have made me to be a bride of Christ. Continue to prepare me to share your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

God Has Friends in Low Places

I was sitting in the backyard listening to an audiobook and getting a much-needed dose of vitamin D. Two mockingbirds were darting back and forth just a few feet in front of me. They began making so much noise that it was becoming difficult to hear my audiobook. I knew that they had a nearby nest and were only trying to protect their young from a potential threat. Apparently, mockingbirds don’t understand that a paralyzed guy in a wheelchair doesn’t pose a threat. I wouldn’t have harmed them even if I had the ability because Atticus Finch said that it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Then I saw two beautiful bluebirds sitting side by side on the lowest limb of the large live oak tree. These two little birds were just minding their own business. Like me, they seemed to be doing their best to ignore the noise and the antics of the paranoid mockingbirds. Every five minutes or so, one of the bluebirds would fly over to an old birdhouse. Mary’s been meaning to replace that birdhouse because the wood is rotting. After observing this for over an hour, Mary came out and told me that the bluebirds have a nest in that dilapidated old birdhouse.

I thought there must be a severe birdhouse shortage in our area for these bluebirds to have chosen this run-down dwelling to build a nest. It was then that I had somewhat of a revelation about the beautiful and Holy taking up residence in dwellings that are far beneath them. Jesus was born in a smelly stable. There might have been a pair of bluebirds nesting in that stable. The Holy Spirit resides in the followers of Christ:

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

I’ve met some rough-looking followers of Christ over the years. Many of Christ’s most fervent followers were once prostitutes, alcoholics, drug addicts, gang members, murderers, on and on the list goes. And then there’s me… Regardless of how we might look on the outside, we’re all broken down “birdhouses” on the inside. As the Bible says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

Yet, this sinless Jesus will put His Spirit in all that ask Him to. Wow!

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus was born in a place that most homeless people would have avoided. But, Even if Jesus would have been born in the most magnificent palace on earth, it would have been far beneath Him. It’s as if God chose the lowest of places to emphasize this. Yes, that’s it exactly.

The disciples were grief-stricken after Jesus explained to them that He would have to die. He comforted them with there words: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

The night before the crucifixion of Jesus, Peter cowered before a small group of slaves, denying three times that he even knew Jesus. Weeks later, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter stood before a crowd of thousands of powerful Jewish leaders, likely some of the people who condemned Jesus. Peter boldly declared that Jesus is Lord. Then he told them to “Be saved from this perverse generation!” (Acts 2:40). I think saying things like that was politically incorrect even in that day. I wonder what he’d say today. Regardless of what he said, his message was effective, and “about three thousand souls” committed to following Christ that day.

Years later, after being arrested by the Romans, Peter was told that he would be crucified if he didn’t renounce Jesus. Contemporary sources write that he refused to renounce Jesus. He told them that he didn’t feel worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord and Savior. Instead, he asked to be crucified upside down. They granted his request.

It’s been two thousand years since Peter’s crucifixion. Many have been executed for refusing to deny Jesus. In the face of death, many others renounced Jesus and lived.

What choice would you make if put in this position?

By definition, a true follower of Christ is someone who has the Spirit of God living inside of them. I still think it will be a difficult choice, but if the Holy Spirit is in you, you will say no to this life and yes to eternal life.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

Having God’s Spirit living inside of us gives us Unshakable Hope.

Rewritten from a post five years ago.

Godly Contentment

If you were with us in 2017, you may
remember our series on Contentment.

We have edited, revised, and published these posts as chapters in our newest book. Godly Contentment is seventh in our series Little Books about the Magnitude of God.

Never in eighty years have I seen these truths so desperately needed. I have been reviewing these for my own encouragement since January.  Our cover image (as well as our header) is a personal photograph by a sister-blogger, Heidi Viars – Wings of the Dawn. 

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 3 – The Essence of Contentment

Faith Leads to Contentment
Faith affects our senses as we “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18; Romans 8:28-29).

Faith becomes the bridge, the means to the whole of God’s kingdom. Here is where we connect faith and contentment, contentment being the seventh and complete sense in communion with the Father.

Our Father uses faith to bring us out of the state of oppression through adversity. We would rather say that His presence and power lift us above the adversity and brings us to the state of contentment. We do not escape adversity, but in it, we learn to live in conformity to the image of Christ. His Word and faith in His Word train our senses. By these, we accept and live unmoved by our circumstances. We practice keeping our focus on God, our Father, and our hearts centered in Christ and His promises, as the Holy Spirit leads us.

Godly Contentment is available on Amazon and soon through other distributors.
Proceeds are designated for missions and charity. Paperback      Ebook
Fran

Surreal Surrender

Our heavenly Father relates to His children at different times in different ways. He uses stronger measures with some than with others.

We are all disobedient by nature, but He knows how and when to bring us in obedience to Himself. He turns some in childhood to know Him and love Him. For others it is in times of crisis that we come to the end of ourselves to see our need for Him.

It is such times as the whole world is experiencing now that many are turning in repentance and faith to seek Him, His will, His kingdom, and His righteousness.

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

God’s Authority Over All Things
Many are declaring “conspiracy” in what is happening in the world. As in a former post, we agree that a conspiracy has been the enemy’s work since the beginning of time. But we remember the antithesis is ruled by God, our Father.

He governs in all things to bring about His sovereign will at all times and in all places ~ to the end to declare His kingdom, power, and glory.

We continue to praise Him at all times, in all circumstances. living in obedience of faith under His authority and counsel.

We sometimes need the difficult times for Him to draw us closer to Him. When things seem unreal, we have a place of refuge and safety.

“Before I was afflicted I went astray:
but now have I kept thy word.”
Psalm 119:67

No doubt, when things settle down, many will return to their own ways, but He will have done His work in the hearts and lives of those who truly surrender themselves to Him.

 “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations,
and to reserve the unjust
unto the day of judgment to be punished:”

2 Peter 2:9

Gracious Father, we thank you for ruling in power over all things according to your Holy will. Draw us and keep us close to you in these difficult times. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, and by your Holy Word, enable us to help others who are seeking you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Image: Google