Tag Archives: Mercy Me

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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Hard Pressed

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up. 

                                      ~Jesse Jackson

 
When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
                                      ~ Psalm 118:5-6
 
I very much like Eugene Peterson’s The Message in many cases.  In this season, I particularly like the Psalm, expanded to verse 16. It would seem that the speaker is empowered, reminded of just who it is that is at their side. That empowerment brings confidence and finally the statement “The hand of God has turned the tide!”  Not once, but twice. Today, feel the presence of the one whose hand can turn the tide, heck, he can part the waters!
 
Pushed to the wall, I called to God;
    from the wide open spaces, he answered.
God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid;
    who would dare lay a hand on me?
God’s my strong champion;
    I flick off my enemies like flies.
Far better to take refuge in God
    than trust in people;
Far better to take refuge in God
    than trust in celebrities.
Hemmed in by barbarians,
    in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Hemmed in and with no way out,
    in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt;
Like swarming bees, like wild prairie fire, they hemmed me in;
    in God’s name I rubbed their faces in the dirt.
I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall,
    when God grabbed and held me.
God’s my strength, he’s also my song,
    and now he’s my salvation.
Hear the shouts, hear the triumph songs
    in the camp of the saved?
        “The hand of God has turned the tide!
        The hand of God is raised in victory!
        The hand of God has turned the tide!”
 
Stand in strength.  The Creator of all has your back and goes before you.
 
All of Creation/How He Loves
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Repent?

Wisdom is not what you know but how quickly you adjust when the opposite proves true. 

                                         ~Robert Brault

 

 …so he explained it to them.
 
“I am the Gate for the sheep,” he said.
“Yes, I am the Gate. Those who come in by way of the Gate will be saved and will go in and out and find green pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”
                                          ~ John 10:7, 9-10
 
     So amidst this always different holiday season, I find myself needing a cleansing.  Of all my old thoughts, old ways of looking at relationships, pain that I have been tending like little sheep.  And sure enough, our Pastor makes a connection between the purple in the candles harkening back to repentance and an “unwelcome guest”at the Christmas party.  
     Good ol’ cousin John the Baptist.  The “repent” scripture was in the lectionary and discuss cleansing we did.  Immediately after service, I encountered someone with whom I had years of experience.  I heard an exchange that she had with another member of the congregation and thought, “Wow, all that acid you have been sharing is rooted in jealousy.”
    Which of course made me look inward.  I have lots to look at again. And the perfect season to remember that my sins will be made white as snow, as long as I shovel them toward Jesus.
 
Mercy Me – All of Creation
 
     Because of Him,
      Linda

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Flawless

Harmony seldom makes a headline. 
                                                                               ~ Silas Bent
 
If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.
 
                                                                                ~ 1 John 1:8-10
 
     The director of music must wonder why they have such good hearing and why that is a good thing…sometimes. They can hear a flat note, a slowed note, a sharp note,  a regional accent, another person’s direction, amidst so many voices.  The kind ones don’t let it go.  They find a way to lift the singer, or instruct the section.  They point out how the tenors are actually lower that the altos, or that the altos are singing higher than the sopranos, whatever it takes to get the notes right. The accompanist brings out the errant part so that it can be heard clearly. 
      After all that work, it still has to come together by the attention to the dynamics, keeping our eyes on the director, listening to each other and the accompanist, and singing out with the intent of worshiping the Lord.
     What happens sometimes defies the imagination.  The director of music is actually able to worship in the midst of the direction.  If one observes, it is evident.
     This role, like that of a teacher, a doctor, a minister, many vocations of service, mirror the life of Jesus, who knew all the flaws and lived His life as an example, all the time loving the flawed and seeing them through His Father’s eyes.  Because of the cross, you are flawless.
Flawless – Mercy Me
    Today, as you observe this Good Friday, let the harmony of the love all around you lift you up, and tell someone that gave you direction that made a difference, thank you. Stand in your flawless condition and give God the Praise.
     Because of Him,
     Linda

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You’re Beautiful

Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art. 
 
     ~ K. Stanislavsky
 
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
    The woman to be admired and praised
    is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
 
     ~ Psalm 31:30
 
There is a woman in my church who is just Park Avenue classy from head to toe, hair always done, make-up just so.  There is no evidence of alteration of any kind, man made that is.  She always knows what to say, always has a kind word, the innocence of a child, the wisdom of the ages.
 
She does not believe in being anyone else but who she is.  For her this means, no hair color, no extensions, no botox, no collagen, no liposuction…you get the idea.  
 
She is candid, gifted, supportive and a prayer warrior.  She does not sit in judgement of those less fortunate, shes dives in and helps in any way she can.  Her children have been my students, and they mirror her classy ways and Godly devotion.  The art in this lady is at the hand of God.
She is human, and makes mistakes just like the rest of us, and when I read this scripture, she is the first one who sprang to mind for truly she lives in the grace and the fear of God.  She has stood between myself and temptation to be unkind many a time for decades by her candid, loving direction.
She is just one of the mirrors in my spiritual powder room, and I am grateful for her.  Now for the shock.
Someone feels the same way about you.
Today, stand in the light of God and say thank you when you get that compliment. You’re beautiful.
Because of Him,
Linda

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Beautiful

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. 
 
      ~ Mark Twain
 
But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.
 
     ~ Romans 6:23
 
My parallel for today is in Eugene Peterson’s The Message.  No matter what kind of weather you have seen, there is a whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!
 
The weather of this winter has left me like the leaves, 
beaten down, flattened out, matted to the lawn like papier -mache’.  
So much weather, so much gray.
But wait! There is a disturbance beneath,
a fresh, green sheath
of life, poking, pushing, prodding, lifting, moving.
Where once there was a sad clump 
a shoot reaches up, promising more,
and beautiful in its struggle.
Fresh life from withered stems,
Praise anew, it’s spring again.
 
Today, let your beaten layer go, greet the fresh breeze
whether it carries rain, or snow, and look at what the Lord has done in your life.
You’re beautiful.
 
Beautiful – Mercy Me
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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