Sunday, June 29, 2008

What is in your hand?

Pass me not, O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry,
While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.

Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry:
While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.

Let me at Thy throne of mercy, find a sweet relief;
kneeling there in deep contrition, help my unbelief.

Trusting only in Thy merit, would I seek Thy face.
Heal my wounded, broken spirit, save me by Thy grace.

Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry:
While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.

Frances Jane Crosby or Franny Crosby as she is well known is the writer of this famous hymn. This prolific lyricist was born into a poor family. Then as an infant she contracted a cold with inflammation in her eyes, the local doctor was not available so the man who came to treat her prescribed a treatment that ended up being a botched procedure that resulted in her permanent blindness. She never knew her father who died when she was one year old. Her mother and grandmother raised her and not only was it tough being blind, but being raised by women in a society at that time was not easy. In spite of all that would have caused some people to give up and throw in the towel, Fanny persevered, was educated and later married only to have her only child die in infancy.

But she believed in what she wrote. “Pass me not O gentle Savior” was written at one of her trials in life. Here was a woman that had every right to say “Why me Lord?” and perhaps she did at times. And yet she was able to pour her heart out in lyrics that would speak and minister to the hearts of men and women over a hundred years later. Here was a woman who became a lobbyist in Washington DC for the support of education for the blind.

Fanny Crosby a blind woman did not let her handicap stop her from fulfilling God’s purpose in her life. She could not use her eyes, so she used her mind. A mind so anointed by God that she would have as many as twelve hymns in her mind at a time, then dictating them one after the other for someone to write them down on paper.

In Exodus chapter 4, when Moses express some doubt when God told him that He was going to use him to free His people; God asked Moses “What is in your hand?” and Moses answered “A staff.” And we all know how God used what was in the hand of Moses. It was all he had, but it was all God needed. Fanny Crosby gave God all she had and He used it to reach the world.

What do you have? It may seem to you as nothing much. You may say, but you don’t know all that I have been through…give it to God…that’s right, all of it and trust Him to use it for His Glory!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The child within us

But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
Luke 18:16-17

God is all about “balance”, as much as He wants us to “grow up” and mature in stature as well as wisdom; He also wants us to have the simple faith and trust of a child. Notice I said simple not silly…there’s a difference. Simple faith and trust as in free, unrestrained, without complication and with willingness.

The last six years of my life has been a journey. Since my husband’s death I’ve had to get to know me all over again. It was time for me to “grow up” about a lot of things. And God took me by the hand and lead me (He’s still leading) through some times that were very somber, sobering and enlightening. But the lyrics to the song “Through it all” the chorus rings very true “I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God.”

Now don’t get me wrong, through all this learning and stuff I’ve had some good times too. I mean I’m God’s daughter and He loves me and wants me to enjoy life! He doesn’t want me to be so serious that I miss all the joy He has for me too. (See there’s that balance thing again) A couple of days ago were one of those times.

A lovely friend of mine (she is also a co-worker) took me for a spin in her new sporty convertible. We joked about being “Thelma and Louise” as we put on our sunglasses, and took several minutes to figure out how to get the top down on the car. But once we got rolling it was fun all the way. Now grant it we were only going into town to pick up lunches for the office crew, but to me I felt like a kid again going for a ride down the streets of my hometown in the Homecoming parade!

And what happens when you’re feeling free and having fun in a convertible…well the next thing I know my arms go up and I’m waving and saying hello to people on the street (people we knew of course). Well what do you expect? We had our sunglasses on, our hair was blowing in the wind and we were two hot chicks…okay… two middle-aged hot chicks in a sweet convertible. I was a kid again and it felt wonderful! Did I feel God smiling? I was free, unrestrained, not complicated and willing to have some fun!

Yesterday I was chuckling to myself as I thought of this event. I reflected again how much God wants us to enjoy life and “lighten up” sometimes. God loves us and He loves the child within all of us. Me, I was a child that loved climbing trees so high I could feel the wind in my face and wearing my favorite cut off denim jeans (my mom used to have to trick me to get them in the laundry).

The trials and tribulations of life help us to mature and grow up, but when you think about it we still are children at heart. Sometimes we have buried that “child” so deep, only God can reveal and restore it again. And oh how He wants us to have that simple faith and trust in Him again.

Yes, I had a good laugh on my way to the library yesterday as I was thinking of all this about the child within us. Because I happen to look down at what I was wearing and guess what it was? I had on cut off denim jeans; they are STILL my most favorite thing to wear! I laughed all the way to the library!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Soooooooo Big!

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.
Psalms 34:3

Magnify – to increase the apparent size; to make greater than. To intensify; make larger.

The Psalmist knew what he was talking about when in his excitement he said “Oh! Magnify the Lord with me! Trouble was a very familiar thing to David. Even when he became King he still had many troubles and yet he knew the secret of worshipping God!
He knew how to make God bigger than his problem.

Have you ever watch an ant carrying food to his abode? In most cases what is a crumb to us is larger than his entire body! Yet the size of that crumb does not deter that ant from staying focused on the task at hand. No matter the size of its “burden” the ant through divine instinct can bypass what it sees as a problem and fulfill its purpose.

When we have difficulties in life we may look at them as being insurmountable burdens that are too big to fix or carry, when in God’s eyes they look like crumbs! I thank Him for His mercy and grace that understands that we are but pitiful weaklings capable of doing nothing without Him. But as we worship Him and make Him bigger than the trial we may be going through, our burden becomes lighter, easier. God is so big, so awesome; we really cannot fathom His greatness. We can only worship Him and get a mere glimpse of how much bigger He is than our problems.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Our refuge

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1

Many years ago I was a leader with the Teen ministry where I attended church at the time. We sometimes had between 200-300 teens all in one building at a time. One of the songs we used to sing was :
"God is my refuge and God is my strength, a very present help in trouble.
God is my refuge and God is my strength a very present help in trouble. Therefore I will not fear though the earth be removed.And though the mountains fall and be cast into the sea!"

I can stiil hear all those voices singing out now, some sincere, some not so sincere, but it was a joyous sound to behold. We were declaring God's Awesome power! Man! that must make Him feel good!

It's funny how things can come back to you just when you need it. I have not sung that song in so many years I can't even remember and yet! The other day when I was trying to have a pity party and was doing a really good job of it, that song came back to me full force! I remembered every single word!

God is my refuge AND my strength, then why the heck am I looking to get it from anyone or anything else???????? AAHHH Lord you must get a good laugh from us...a lot!

So, I start singing this song right? And guess what? The words kicked in and it was like I could not stop singing it! LOL Even when I stopped the song was still playing in my head! LOL
God is a PRESENT help, in others words He is right there when you need Him. It may not feel like it all the time, but He says He's there and I believe Him.

Thank you Lord for your mercy, love, help and strength just when I need it!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Be still...

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
Psalms 46:10

I’m a “thinker” (someone who is always trying to analyze an action, deed or person). While it has it good points, I know that I have missed many moments of plain ‘ol fun because I was too busy trying to figure it out. How many times have my late husband, co-workers and friends tried to surprise me and I would not let them because I was too busy trying to “figure” it all out! Basically I don’t like surprises and am a person that likes to be prepared. Like the time I took my car to the mechanic and asked him could he fix a certain thing on my car that I thought was soon due for maintenance. After reluctantly checking it he looked at me and said “M’am I can’t fix it unless it broken.” He then gave me a smile with pity in his eyes, as if to say “Lady you’re crazy!”

I guess in my own pityful, tired little way I think that I can avoid life's surprises by "headin' them off at the pass". And from someone (me) that has had a whole lot of surprises in this life I should know better!

For the past couple of years I have felt strongly that the Lord was calling me to sit and learn from Him. Every since my salvation experience about 30 years ago, from the very beginning I was busy doing what I considered for the Lord. So, so busy. Working in the prison ministry, which I loved! Visiting nursing homes, detention homes and individual homes. Involvement in music ministry, which included singing not only in various churches, musical productions, but street corners and lots and lots of funerals and weddings. I was so committed to what I called “serving the Lord” that I missed my parent’s (that are now both deceased) 50th Wedding anniversary! Oh how sorry I am about that! But at the time I was involved in an Easter Musical production and though we saw many hundreds maybe thousands pray and accept the Lord as Savior and become Christians, it cannot excuse my absence at a celebration for the two people that loved me more than anyone on this earth.

After all that busy-ness and running for the Lord, I am learning to relax and enjoy Him. It is not easy sometimes though, since I like being prepared, sometimes I feel like I don’t know what is happening one minute from the next. I am learning to live one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time. And though it may seem that I am not doing anything for the Lord, in fact I feel closer to Him than I ever have all these years. I know that I have a purpose in this life and though each season may be different, I desire to walk in His will. Sometimes I want answers right then, “Lord, what do I do now?” “Where do I go now?” But I have to learn how to really let go and release it all to Him.

Sometimes you can’t always be prepared, you just have to be STILL and KNOW that He is God!