Drops in the ocean

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Where do you go when you want to know? Most of us grab our smart phones and get any information we need in an instant. Is it going to rain tomorrow? There’s an app for that. How many times a day does someone ask a question or speculate on a topic and everyone in the group picks up their phone to look it up? 

Some things I need to know can’t be found on Google. Like how much my husband loves me, or whether my friend’s test results came out okay, or if another friend was accepted for the graduate program she desperately wanted. How about God’s love for me? Can I Google that or should I look elsewhere? The song in my head tells me where to look. It is Drops In The Ocean from Hawk Nelson.

If you want to know
How far my love can go
Just how deep, just how wide
If want to see
How much you mean to me
Look at my hands, look at my side
If you could count the times I say you are forgiven
It’s more than the drops in the ocean

It’s all about relationship. Do I want a relationship with my phone or with people? With God? Our Heavenly Father created us to love us, to be His children. To put down whatever is distracting us from Him and pay attention. How often have we done that with our own kids? “Look at me. What did I say? Pay attention.” This song reminds me of the promise in Romans 8:38-39…

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If I want to know about God’s love for me, I must go to the source and open my Bible. And read it. And reflect on what it says and remember what it says. I must look at the hands and feet of Jesus. I must fix my eyes on the wounds He suffered, the cruelty and shame He took on Himself so that I could live this life He gave me. Thousands of times he has forgiven me, even before I knew I needed forgiveness. More than the drops in the ocean. There’s NOT an app for that!!

Click here to listen to Drops In The Ocean from Hawk Nelson.

Featured image: Drop in the Ocean by David Ardley, 2012. Click here for more information on this artist. 

Because He Lives (Amen)

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I woke up to daylight and birds singing this morning. I love that early morning quiet sound of the house before its business as usual. I heard the sound of planes soaring overhead and my dogs anxious to go outside. And in my head, Matt Maher was singing this verse to his song, Because He Lives (Amen).

I WAS DEAD IN THE GRAVE
I WAS COVERED IN SIN AND SHAME
I HEARD MERCY CALL MY NAME 
HE ROLLED THE STONE AWAY

Mercy called my name. I love how God sings over me while I sleep and gives me a thought that will stay with me all day. Today “Mercy called my name” will stay in my heart and give me light and hope when I need it.

AMEN
AMEN 
I’M ALIVE
I’M ALIVE
BECAUSE HE LIVES
AMEN
AMEN
LET MY SONG JOIN THE ONE THAT NEVER ENDS
BECAUSE HE LIVES

I am alive because Jesus lives. I know we are not yet to Easter and He is Risen, but HE IS RISEN! As Christians, we must let the whole world see the joy of the risen Lord written all over us!

BECAUSE HE LIVES
I CAN FACE TOMORROW
BECAUSE HE LIVES
EVERY FEAR IS GONE
I KNOW HE HOLDS MY LIFE MY FUTURE IN HIS HANDS

Amen. Amen.

Click here to listen to Because He Lives (Amen).

 

Are you married to what you think?

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What do you believe? Not about Santa Claus or the tooth fairy or whether Kentucky will win the NCAA championship this year, though most Kentuckians would rather discuss the championship than their faith. (Trust me on that one… I live here.) March Madness is in full swing here in the Bluegrass State. I was at a basket-making class last weekend. All women, all my age or older, and (you guessed it) the conversation eventually turned to UK basketball. One lady even made a UK basket and several were wearing their blue and white.

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the Crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s coming back again
We believe

I woke up with the Newsboys singing We Believe in my head this morning. It got me thinking… DO I believe? As I read the lyrics, I can answer without hesitation, “Yes, I do!” But do I live it out? Does my life look like Jesus is coming back again? Would I rather talk about basketball or basket weaving than my personal belief in the One True God?

I love the ASL sign for the word “believe.” It’s a combination of the sign for “think” and “marry.” It’s a whole different perspective when you think about being married to what you think. Watch it here. Am I married to what I think about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? About His crucifixion, death, and resurrection? Is it something I know deep in my heart and believe enough to be married to it? Those of us who have accepted Christ as our personal Savior have become part of the Church… The Bride of Christ.

I believe, I am married to what I think, because Jesus loved me enough to be married to me, to His church. He is our bridegroom.

What do you believe?

Click here to listen to We Believe from the Newsboys.

Something Beautiful

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This is one of those rare mornings when I overslept. I have an excuse, though! My son is home, and we talked until 2:00 in the morning. One of the joys of my life is talking with my kids about anything and everything. I love listening to their plans, hopes, dreams, thoughts, ideas, stories, poetry, songs, ramblings… For me, it’s like watching them find hidden treasure. I knew it was there all the time, just waiting for them to find it themselves.

And God says
I’m gonna turn it into something different
I’m gonna turn it into something good
I’m gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only I could
So put it all in the hands of the Father
Give it up, give it all over to
The only One who can turn it into
Something beautiful
Something really beautiful

Stephen Curtis Chapman’s song, Something Beautiful, woke me up in the middle of the night (when I didn’t really want to be awake because I didn’t get to bed until 2:00!) It’s the song in my head this morning. One of my favorite lines from this song says

While we’re living down here in this “yet to be”
Is to watch God take the most broken things
and to hear Him say
“When I get through, you’re gonna be amazed”

My kids are living the part of their lives that I sometimes wish I could go back and fix or change in my own life. Best laid plans, dreams never fulfilled, bad choices… All of these and more could make me morose and regretful. But God says He will turn it into something beautiful. Isaiah 61:3 says God will give us “a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.”

God can take all the stuff in my life that Satan would love to use for his own satisfaction, and turn it into something beautiful. Something wonderful and perfect in God’s own eyes that He can use for His purposes. Something that will glorify God and put Satan in his place. But ONLY if I give it all over to the Father, to the only One who is able to take my broken pieces and make me whole, beautiful. Wholly beautiful in HIS sight. When He gets through, I know I’m gonna be amazed!!!!

Click here to listen to Something Beautiful.

Featured image: Oil on a functional box with magnetic closure, 8.5″ x 6″ x 1.75″ What can I say? I love flowers!!!!

Wait for it…

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I’m not a good waiter… As in “one who waits.” Patience is NOT my best thing. I’ve gotten better at it through the years, but there’s not as much to wait for! As a kid, we waited for everything… Christmas, birthdays, dinner, dessert, play time, school to start, school to end, and (dare I say it given the last few weeks in Kentucky?) snow days… How often we were told to be patient! 

Easter is my favorite holiday and my favorite day in the church year. So the Lenten season seems interminable for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Lenten hymns and their sorrowful beauty. I love the lyrics and all their meaning as they carry us toward the cross. But Easter morning? Nothing compares. So this Lenten time of waiting for the joy of the resurrection is hard for me. I’m not supposed to sing Alleluia, yet my heart still sings “He Is Risen!” I know I’m supposed to select songs of the cross for prelude or offertory, but can I help it if I’m drawn to jazz arrangements??

For me, one of the joys of being a Christian is knowing the end of the story!! Yes, Lent helps me remember Jesus and the sacrifice He made for me; but since I’ve accepted His precious and gracious gift of salvation, I am His. My future is secure. I know my final destination and Home is where my heart is. I cannot be sad during this time of Lent. I can only look forward to Easter morning when we finally, unabashedly, and with our whole hearts can say HE IS RISEN!!! ALLELUIA!!!!!! 

Click here to read Easter Thoughts, another post about the joy I feel at Easter time… There are many ☺️

 

I Will Arise

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My morning quiet time with God is really important to me. I try not to let anything get in the way of it, or to move it to another time of the day. Seems like if I don’t get right up to my desk first thing with my coffee, then it doesn’t happen at all that day. I get distracted and busy and the next thing I know a whole day has flown past.

Several mornings in the last week, I have come awake with a very old Southern Harmony song in my head. In 1759, Joseph Hart published Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy. Now in public domain, it’s a classic hymn of the church. With six verses and a refrain, it’s one of those invitation hymns that could go on and on. But the sound of the refrain is what woke me again this morning.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in his arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

I have several piano arrangements of this classic. My favorite is the Mark Hayes, but I’m also working on a jazz arrangement by Larry Shackley. No matter which one I play, I sing the words in my head as I move through the music. The definitive stands out to me… I WILL arise, I WILL go to Jesus. He WILL embrace me. There ARE ten thousand charms. Not maybe. Not a chance that my Savior might embrace me. Not a possibility of Jesus love and affection. Matthew 11:28-30 says,

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

It’s a for sure thing. A done deal. I will arise and keep my morning appointment, because He WILL be there waiting for me. 

Click here to listen to Come Ye Sinners (I Will Arise) from Martha Bassett.

Featured image, oil on canvas, winter sunrise, Martha Robertson 2003.

 

 

Focus

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The chorus from a song called The One I’m Running To woke me up this morning. The song is from 7eventh Time Down, and the lyrics have me thinking… Do I run to Jesus or just look at Him occasionally? Do I walk in His general direction or run to Him like I’m being chased by the Devil himself? If I’m honest with myself, I’d say it’s more of a jog or a trot. Not exactly meandering on the path of my faith walk, but not running hard after Jesus either. 

Tonight I’m gonna fix my eyes
On the only Hope who satisfies, my heart
You are the One I’m running to
Everything that’s good and right and true
Jesus, I’m coming after who You are
You are the One I’m running to

The thing is, we are ALL being chased by the devil himself. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “…the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” If I’m just wandering along aimlessly on the path of life with no general direction, I am easy prey! But if I’m running after Jesus, if He is taking the lead in my race in this life and I am following His every step, every promise… Well, I believe the devil will have to work much harder than he wants to or is willing to, and just maybe will go after someone else for a little while. Until the next time I take my eyes off the only Hope that satisfies. Until I forget the enemy is hard on my heels and I get lazy. 

So, how do I keep my focus? I strap on my spiritual running shoes and look up!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. -Philippians 4:8

Click here to listen to The One I’m Running To.

“It doesn’t matter!” -Grace

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I hear a voice, and He calls me “redeemed” when others say I’ll never be enough.

This line from the MercyMe song, Greater, woke me up this morning. Just this line. Isn’t it a wonderful thing that God calls us “redeemed” no matter what anyone else says of us? Even ourselves. As this line played on a loop in my mind while I went about my wake-up routine, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said those same words…. Even ourselves.

I am my own worst enemy. I am self-everything… -Critical, -absorbed, -serving, -deprecating, -fillintheblank. Insert the word “self” in front of each of those words and many others. I have always been too quick to tear myself down. But that’s not what God says of me.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. -Romans 8:1

Like the song says, “there will be days I lose the battle. But Grace says that it doesn’t matter because the cross already won the war!” I love the full definition of the word redeemed at Merriam-Webster.com. Please read it and know that Christ has done this for you. And me!!!

Full Definition of REDEEM

transitive verb
1
a  :  to buy back :  repurchase

b:  to get or win back

2
:  to free from what distresses or harms: as 

a:  to free from captivity by payment of ransom


b:  to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental


c:  to release from blame or debt :clear


d:  to free from the consequences of sin

3
:  to change for the better :  reform
4
5
a  :  to free from a lien by payment of an amount secured thereby

(1):  to remove the obligation of by payment <the United States Treasury redeems savings bonds on demand>

(2)  :  to exchange for something of value <redeem trading stamps>

c:  to make good :fulfill

6
a  :  to atone for :  expiate <redeem an error>

(1):  to offset the bad effect of

(2)  :  to make worthwhile :  retrieve

Please have a listen to this wonderful song, be prepared to dance. Greater.
Please click here to read Greater from a different perspective written in August last year.

How Can It Be?

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Martha Robertson:

This song is on my mind again this morning. During the season of Lent, it makes me stop and ask, “How can it be that Jesus loved me enough to take that walk to Calvary?”

Originally posted on New Song Every Day:

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

These powerful lyrics are from a new song by Lauren Daigle called How Can It Be. Her equally powerful voice is stuck in my head this morning. Click here to listen to her amazing voice sing this song that puts me on my knees in worship.

How CAN it be that I am free to live my life, but Jesus Christ was beaten beyond recognition and subjected to dying a slow painful death on a cross of shame???

How can it be that this same Jesus would love me… broken and damaged and imperfect plain old me… so much that He would carry that same cross up the hill, knowing how it was going…

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