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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Joy of Every Longing Heart

All of humankind has a longing. We sang in our own local fellowship this morning the seasonal carol, "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus." Some longings are rightly placed in Jesus. Some are misplaced,however, and then we wonder why we can go through a season of celebration as we do at Christmas, and come away with a still empty heart. It would be a set up to expect no longing; the longing is not wrong. But the hope in Christ is that He is the joy of our longing. Charles Wesley has written the words we sang today, "Come Thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee. Israel's strength and consolation, Hope of all the saints Thou art; Dear desire of every nation, JOY OF EVERY LONGING HEART." My prayer in this now dawned season of Advent is that not only will the eyes of our darkening world find Jesus, the joy of their longing, but that my own heart will be awakened, recalled, reminded, and refocused on Jesus, the joy of my longing heart.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rewind Us Again

Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Amen.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Rewind us again.

I found this doing a search this evening as I contemplate adding this hymn to tomorrow's worship. This humorous wording was heard being sung by a young child riding with their parents to church one evening. (Not one of mine I will add.) Of course, this slight re-do on the words adds the realistic touch to how we often feel when we come into His presence with singing, and I smile. I'm thinking of the passage in John that says, "If we abide in Him, and He in us, then we will bear much fruit." If this verse were written in the vernacular of the child singing this old hymn, perhaps it would read, "If we rewind in Him, and He rewinds in us..." If we could just rewind in Him! Sweet rest for the weary, Joy for the souls of men. Don't push pause, just rewind!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Emerging Pet Peeve

While creases in table cloths at potlucks,wedding receptions, and the like have indeed been a long standing pet peeve, a new peeve is on the horizon: EZ-Zip ziplocks on bags of veggies, frozen chicken bits, etcetera that, ah hem, do NOT re-zip. Hence, the anticipated and greatly feared tumble of frozen chicken breasts on the kitchen floor or bare and exposed toes so unfortunate as to be in the way. Yes, my new and emerging pet-peeve. It's been happening for months now, but is just emerging, if you will, to my sometimes easily irritated thinker.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The First Song

The brightly sharpened sounds of a birds first song call through my deepest sleep as the Lord signals the new day. I love that sound! I love it's Creator. What a creator He is. Though nature is without words, it is not lacking for a voice. Through song, sunset, deep pools of stars far off....all the like give Him glory, and He uses these incredible displays to reach the hearts of those who might miss Him otherwise. How we love what you made. Call us to love you more, Oh Lord, - to love you most, love you best.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Connecticut Then, and Now....

Today I happened upon this amazing article by Thomas Hooker, a puritan, who is considered one of the founders of the colony of Connecticut. Contrast his Godly convictions to the convictions of the judge in that same state, who today, legalized one of our cultures most grievous trends-gay marriage.

The Character of a Sound Christian in 17 Marks
by Thomas Hooker

1. If you can mourn daily for your own corruptions and failings committed, yet so as to be thankful for the grace received.

Romans 7:24–25: “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord . . . So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

2. If you are grieved for the sins of the times and places wherein you live.

— Ezekiel 9:4: “And the Lord said unto him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.’ ”
— Psalm 119:136: “Rivers of water run down mine eyes because men keep not Thy law.”
— 2 Peter 2:8: “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day, with their unlawful deeds.

3. If when you mourn for the sins of the times, you take heed that you are not infected with them.

Philippians 2:15: “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”
— Acts 20:40: “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this untoward generation.’ ”
— James 1:27: “Pure religion, and undefiled before God and the Father, is this: to visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
— 1 Peter 4:4: “Wherein they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.”

4. If you endeavor to get victory over your corruptions, and are daily more circumspect over your ways, and more fearful to fall in time to come.

1 Corinthians 9:27: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means when I have preached to others I myself should be a castaway.”
— Psalm 39:1: “I said I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue. I will keep my mouth with a bridle while the wicked are before me.”
— Job 40:5: “Once I have spoken, but I will not answer thee; yea twice, but I will proceed no further.”
— Philippians 2:12: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in mine absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
— Proverbs 28:14: “Happy is the man that feareth always.”

5. If you can chide your own heart for the coldness and dullness of it to good duties, and use all holy means for quickening it up afterwards.

Psalm 42:5: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquietted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.”
— Psalm 57:8: “Awake, my glory, awake psaltery and harp. I myself will awake early.”
— Isaiah 64:7: “And there is none that calleth on thy name that stirreth up themselves to take hold of thee.”
— Judges 5:12: “Awake, awake, Deborah, awake, awake, utter a song. Arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.”

6. If you can be patient under afflictions and better for afflictions.

— Hebrews 12:5: “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, my son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him.”— Hebrews 12:11: “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby.”
— Psalm 119:67: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I have kept Thy words.”
— Jeremiah 5:3: “O Lord, are not Thine eyes upon the truth! Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved. Thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.

7. If your conversation is in heaven, that is, if your thoughts and the course of your life are heavenwards.

Philippians 3:20: “For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
— Colossians 3:2: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
— Hebrews 11:15: “And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.”

8. If you delight to speak to God in your praises, and that God should speak to you in His Word.

Romans 8:26: “Likewise also the Spirit helpeth with our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
— John 8:47: “He that is of God heareth God’s words; ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God.”

9. If you are as content to submit your heart and life to God’s Word in all things, even when it crosses you in your profits and pleasures, as you are content to come and hear it.

Isaiah 2:3: “And many people shall go and say, ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.”
— Ezekiel 33:32: “And lo, Thou art to them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument, for they hear Thy words, but they do them not.”

10. If you can rely constantly by faith on the promises of God in Christ when you are in any strait or temptation, as well for your present provision and preservation in this life, as for your salvation in the life to come, abstaining from the use of any unlawful or unwarrantable practices.

Genesis 22:8: “And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering’; so they went both of them together.”
— Exodus 14:13: “And Moses said unto the people, ‘Fear ye not; stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, what He will show to you today; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.’ ”

11. If you can find in your heart that you love God sincerely, although you could never love Him except that He loved you first.1 John 4:19: “We love Him because He first loved us.”
— Romans 5:5: “And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

12. If you can heartily love good Christians, and others who have helped you on to heaven; and, on the contrary, if you hate and avoid wicked and dissolute men, but most of all such as withdraw others from the faith or, by scandalous lives, have caused the faith to be blasphemed and evil spoken of.

1 John 3:14: “We know we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.”

13. If there is a fight between the flesh and the Spirit. -

Romans 7:23: “But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members.”
— Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that you cannot do the things you would.”

14. If we long for the appearing of Christ.

Revelation 22:20: “He which testifies these things saith, ‘Surely I come quickly.’ Amen, even so come, Lord Jesus.”
— 2 Timothy 4:8: “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto them also that love His appearing.”

15. If you make conscience of secret sins which no eye sees, such as a hard heart, a secure and proud spirit; if you do not look to much to the matter of good duties as to the manner; if they are done in truth and sincerity; also if you apply both the promises and the threatenings to yourself in the Word of God, and love and admire grace more in others than in yourself, and hate sin in all, but mostly in yourself.You may take comfort from these if you can do them in a holy manner, namely:
1. With uprightness of heart
2. With continuance
3. With daily growth in the practice of them
And to this end two things must be practice:
1. Often examine, try, and search your heart and all your actions.
2. Often take account of your life concerning your progress in the course of godliness. For lack of this examination, many life and die as hypocrites, and do not know it, but suppose their case is good.

1 John 3:18: “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and truth.”
— 1 Chronicles 29:17: “I know also my God that Thou triest the heart and hast pleasure in uprightness; as for me, in the uprightness of my heart, I have offered all these things.”

16. If you desire to keep no corruptions, or if your endeavors are constant in the use of all means against every corruption.

17. If you desire Christ for His holiness’ sake, which, if you do, then you will take all that comes with holiness, whether it is shame, disgrace, or persecution.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


A well-rested girl busying herself upstairs with the mornings first events while the strains of her own tune sail through our house to the words she sings, "Hallelujah, hallelujah." "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His word!" The old song and the new usher in the Lord's comfort on this day, in our house.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

He Must Decrease

Sending hubby off to work with hanger imprints in his britches??? May it never be! "Is it that obvious?", he asks. Allow my beloved to sport a pet peeve of mine (right up there with fold marks in table cloths at a church potluck),to simply walk out the door as if it didn't matter? He must decrease!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Favorite Ingredient

Tonight I have the honor of being one of many worship leaders in the Valley of the Sun to lead a 2 hour session of worship and prayer prior to and through the end of the election. My session is from 10pm to midnight. This wonderful event is a continuous 50 hours being hosted at a local church where many will be praying, worshipping, and adoring the One who holds our days in His hands. I was thinking that if you asked a Chocolatier what his favorite ingredient in all his concoctions is, he would "Hmmmmm...." for just a moment and then say, "Chocolate, of course!" So as I view my 100 or more favorite songs to sing to the Lord it's impossible to choose a favorite. Like chocolate, only richer and better, I choose "worship". It's my favorite ingredient. It belongs in every song I sing to the Lord.