Fix My Eyes

Faith is like radar that sees through the fog — the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.” 
      ~ Corrie ten Boom
 
God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
 
     It is so easy to tear down. So easy.  Before 2010, I had never heard the word snarky.
snark·y
ˈsnärkē/
adjective

NORTH AMERICANinformal
  1. (of a person, words, or a mood) sharply critical; cutting; snide.
    “the kid who makes snarky remarks in class”
    • cranky; irritable.
      “Bobby’s always a bit snarky before his nap”
    Since then, it is close to replacing “sarcasm” as a way of life, at least where I live.  It is so easy to grab a gavel and judge, point that finger and pontificate, shake one’s head in disgust and forget to pray.
          Where we are now in the world, we cannot afford anything but to pray.  Build up, vocalize that word of affirmation, that compliment.  It is important to build up those in the body of Christ.  Sometimes we are the only thing standing in the gap between life and death.  No matter what front we are on, standing together in Christ is integral and more important than any other way one can stand.  Jesus has to fill us up, wash our core, be our core so that He is the lens through which we see, hear and speak.  In HIM we live and move and have our being.  How can we afford anything else but to build up the body of which Jesus is the head?
     Today, use your faith radar to see, to hear, and to speak.  Build up another believer, or the one that God prompts you to build up.
 
Fix My Eyes
 
     Lord, help me to accept praise in the light of your word, help me to give praise, encouragement according to your love. Keep my faith radar in working order, that I may use it for your glory.
     Because of Him,
     Linda

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Grace

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” 

                         ~ Arthur Conan Doyle
 
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?
~ Galatians 5:13
 
I sit in the corner, if given the chance.
Back to the corner, I can sweep with a glance.
 
The room full of people, relationships bare.
A room full of strangers or church members there.
 
Then he enters in, and all I can see,
is his reflection, the room is all free.
 
The gift is not opened by all in the place.
But this day, I open it.  That pendant marked Grace.
 
A New Hallelujah
Because of Him,
Linda

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Even If

Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.
                                  ~ Romans 11:33
 
“All love that has not friendship for its base, Is like a mansion built upon the sand.” 
                                  ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox
 
Even If – Mercy Me
 
      When I first heard the song, I was caught on the last line.  “It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.” I am always caught when I hear the line of a hymn used in a contemporary song.  So of course, the next time I heard it, I listened for more.  Pretty soon, I was having church in the car, worshipping and crying on my way to work because, every time I turned on the radio “Even If” was what I heard for a few weeks, no matter what time I got in the car.
     I listened to the testimony of Bart Millard with regard to this song. He spoke of his son’s diabetes, and how he knew God could heal his son and that diabetes is not like a cold, or the flu, a chronic illness just never goes away. Bart wanted to have the faith of the three in the fiery furnace.  He knew God could heal it, but he wanted the courage to say, “even if he does not, I will serve him.”
       Then, Bart heard his son say, “I will be changing the world as a diabetic.”
     That is where this song was born.  We still stand in hope of healing, but we serve God no matter what the circumstance.  Then, the line from It Is Well With My Soul that is the line that says, “I am standing in this trial, and I praise you, no matter what.”
(Bart’s testimony is in the first 3-4 minutes.)
     Next time, we’ll take a look at the hymn from which that line comes.
Until then, please stand on the promises.  He knows, He cares,  Praise His Holy Name.
 
Lord, help me to sing, It is well with my soul, in the midst of the trial, the fire, the hurricane, the tornado, the illness, _______. Even if I don’t receive that which I hope for, help me to sing anyway.
 
    Because of Him,
    Linda

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It Is Well

“Hands are the heart’s landscape.” ~ Pope John Paul II
 
God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.
Hebrews 6:10-12
 
It is Well With My Soul
 
     I am including the story of the It is Well With My Soul. The loss that this couple experienced was unfathomable. Child, business, and then the rest of his children.
He had experienced the loss of nearly everything.  And yet, Horatio Spafford remained anchored in the Lord, and was able to pen a hymn that has stood the test of time.  
So often we “get through” a hymn to move on in the worship service.  Sometimes it has to do with our singing ability, sometimes we don’t care for the tune, sometimes it is ot lively enough.  The next time this hymn comes around, focus on the lyrics and remember this story.  It is why Bart Millard from Mercy Me included it in the song Even If.  Because despite what life throws, it is well with his soul.  Here now the story:
 

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago with a lovely family — a wife, Anna, and five children. However, they were not strangers to tears and tragedy. Their young son died with pneumonia in 1871, and in that same year, much of their business was lost in the great Chicago fire. Yet, God in His mercy and kindness allowed the business to flourish once more.

On Nov. 21, 1873, the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre was crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe with 313 passengers on board. Among the passengers were Mrs. Spafford and their four daughters. Although Mr. Spafford had planned to go with his family, he found it necessary to stay in Chicago to help solve an unexpected business problem. He told his wife he would join her and their children in Europe a few days later. His plan was to take another ship.

About four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, the Ville du Harve collided with a powerful, iron-hulled Scottish ship, the Loch Earn. Suddenly, all of those on board were in grave danger. Anna hurriedly brought her four children to the deck. She knelt there with Annie, Margaret Lee, Bessie and Tanetta and prayed that God would spare them if that could be His will, or to make them willing to endure whatever awaited them. Within approximately 12 minutes, the Ville du Harve slipped beneath the dark waters of the Atlantic, carrying with it 226 of the passengers including the four Spafford children.

A sailor, rowing a small boat over the spot where the ship went down, spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. It was Anna, still alive. He pulled her into the boat and they were picked up by another large vessel which, nine days later, landed them in Cardiff, Wales. From there she wired her husband a message which began, “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Mr. Spafford later framed the telegram and placed it in his office.

Another of the ship’s survivors, Pastor Weiss, later recalled Anna saying, “God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why.”

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next available ship and left to join his grieving wife. With the ship about four days out, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where his children went down.

According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” while on this journey.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Chorus:

It is well with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul

Anna gave birth to three more children, one of which died at age four with dreaded pneumonia. In August 1881, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem. Mr. Spafford died and is buried in that city.

Lord, keep me anchored in you. Loss is unsettling, unbalancing, heart wrenching.  Help me to stay, when all is stripped away, in a place to sing It is well with my soul.

Because of Him,

“Hands are the heart’s landscape.” ~ Pope John Paul II
 
God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.
Hebrews 6:10-12
 
It is Well With My Soul
 
     I am including the story of the It is Well With My Soul. The loss that this couple experienced was unfathomable. Child, business, and then the rest of his children.
He had experienced the loss of nearly everything.  And yet, Horatio Spafford remained anchored in the Lord, and was able to pen a hymn that has stood the test of time.  
So often we “get through” a hymn to move on in the worship service.  Sometimes it has to do with our singing ability, sometimes we don’t care for the tune, sometimes it is ot lively enough.  The next time this hymn comes around, focus on the lyrics and remember this story.  It is why Bart Millard from Mercy Me included it in the song Even If.  Because despite what life throws, it is well with his soul.  Here now the story:
 

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago with a lovely family — a wife, Anna, and five children. However, they were not strangers to tears and tragedy. Their young son died with pneumonia in 1871, and in that same year, much of their business was lost in the great Chicago fire. Yet, God in His mercy and kindness allowed the business to flourish once more.

On Nov. 21, 1873, the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre was crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe with 313 passengers on board. Among the passengers were Mrs. Spafford and their four daughters. Although Mr. Spafford had planned to go with his family, he found it necessary to stay in Chicago to help solve an unexpected business problem. He told his wife he would join her and their children in Europe a few days later. His plan was to take another ship.

About four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, the Ville du Harve collided with a powerful, iron-hulled Scottish ship, the Loch Earn. Suddenly, all of those on board were in grave danger. Anna hurriedly brought her four children to the deck. She knelt there with Annie, Margaret Lee, Bessie and Tanetta and prayed that God would spare them if that could be His will, or to make them willing to endure whatever awaited them. Within approximately 12 minutes, the Ville du Harve slipped beneath the dark waters of the Atlantic, carrying with it 226 of the passengers including the four Spafford children.

A sailor, rowing a small boat over the spot where the ship went down, spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. It was Anna, still alive. He pulled her into the boat and they were picked up by another large vessel which, nine days later, landed them in Cardiff, Wales. From there she wired her husband a message which began, “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Mr. Spafford later framed the telegram and placed it in his office.

Another of the ship’s survivors, Pastor Weiss, later recalled Anna saying, “God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why.”

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next available ship and left to join his grieving wife. With the ship about four days out, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where his children went down.

According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” while on this journey.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Chorus:

It is well with my soul,

It is well, it is well with my soul

Anna gave birth to three more children, one of which died at age four with dreaded pneumonia. In August 1881, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem. Mr. Spafford died and is buried in that city.

Lord, keep me anchored in you. Loss is unsettling, unbalancing, heart wrenching.  Help me to stay, when all is stripped away, in a place to sing It is well with my soul.

Because of Him,

Linda

Linda

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Broken Hallelujuah

“Every single moment is absolutely extraordinary. But the next day is a thousand times better.” 
                                          ~ Salvador Dali
 
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
                                          ~ Ephesians 4:32
 
     Yesterday had a couple of shining moments, and I allowed them to be swallowed by…a difficult family situation, a troubling phone call, some difficult words and their implications.
     In the music room, echoes of Leonard Cohen’s “Broken Hallelujah”
filtered under the door and I  wondered if the young voices knew just what that meant. And some of them do.  But Leonard’s words did not lift me, nor the young voices who barely understand the stories represented from the Bible.
     Yesterday, I felt somewhat more like the singers in the following Halleljuah:
             The Afters –  Broken Hallelujah
      The passing kindergarten parade, the company of my family lifted me after that school day. I know that joy awaits, that a blessing is around the corner.  It was hard to sing Hallelujah.  Even harder to let go of that which hurt.  But I will.  As the sun sings the green out of the leaves and opens the clenched buds, so will I sing my own broken Hallelujah.
 
Lord, as my tears dry, let my eyes rest upon you.  Help me to help others who are hurting, trying to pick up the pieces of their broken hallelujahs and offer them to You.
    Because of Him,
    Linda

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Prayer and Politeness?

“The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it’s considered to be your style.” 
                                                        ~ Fred Astaire
 
“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.
                                                        ~Matthew 18:15
 
     There is someone in my life that comes to mind when I read this scripture.  They are loud, overbearing, unrelenting, and the words seem to bounce off of them even when there is that rare moment of engagement.  
     They don’t follow anyone’s rules, and that has cost this individual in some ways. But for the most part they are silicone when it comes to hearing anything at all.
     I have prayed for her for years, I don’t know what to do next, other than be polite and keep praying.  Neither of us are at the top, but it is frustrating to feel as if there is no way to communicate.  E-mail works sometimes, but their own responses are forgotten when the next “thing” comes up.
      Just don’t have an answer.  I have tried to think of what advice I would give if the roles were reversed, and prayer and politeness seem to be the only way, other than avoidance.
      What do you do?
 
Lord, change me.  I know that changing the individual is not anything I can do.  Please let me see them through your eyes.
 
Because of Him,

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The Wind is Blowin’ Again

“Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.” 

 
                                                                                  ~ Mia Hamm

 
With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
                                                                                       ~ Romans 8:1-2
 
     On the east coast, it feels as if the wind has been blowing since September. It is coming from the west, it comes from the north east, it seems to come from everywhere.
      It has felled trees, and blown many a thing to a new location.  And yet, each time I hear the roar of the wind, I hear and old song from my days in the Assemblies of God.  
 
The Wind is Blowin’ Again – Lanny Wolfe Trio
      The world is changing, and the wind is the Spirit of God blowing through our lives and towns, our counties, our world.  I am inspired to change things at work, at home, well, everywhere!  Not crazy changes, for the most part, but radical changes in some ways.  The changes force me to raise the bar and stretch myself.
      How is the wind affecting you?  This representation of the Spirit of life in Christ? What air has the breath of God cleared, prepared, given you a new place to which you can aspire?
      Enjoy the still between “fronts,” as you set the bar higher, let God set the bar higher for the next round.
 
Lord, help me to ride the wind of your cleansing breath.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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