Don Merritt’s post on Praise (click here..great stuff Don) hit my insight bone this morning. I have often thought: “what causes the first frog to croak, or the first cricket to sound off, the first wolf to begin it’s blood curdling moan and all the others join in?
A friend of mine tells about walking out on the dock one frosty morning. The lake was evidently super cooled. The moment he stepped onto the dock the vibrations triggered the whole lake to instantly freeze over in a thin layer of ice. The sound of snap, crackle and pop of a lake freezing over in a couple of seconds will be indented in his memory forever. What causes the first molecule of water in the lake to freeze come winter to ice over the lake in a few moments?
What causes a whole congregation to lift up a raucous praise to the Lord or a moan before the throne in one accord? What causes my eyes to lift to the Lord in a burst of heartfelt praise from depths of my soul? Maybe, when the sun peeks out in my Life after a long storm? When a prayer is answered to my relief? When something works out? When…?
This morning my heart was “super cooled” in a good way. I was ready in my spirit to Praise my Lord and Savior and Don let out the first croak. May all God’s people be ready in their own hearts to join in. May the world hear our sound of unified praise. Oh, it’s not the song leader or the praise band in church (many times they get in the way). It’s God’s people whose hearts are “super cooled” and ready to break loose in praise, in loving God through a kind spontaneous act or smile or something creative. It’s something God has prepared in you because you have been walking with HIM. Daily.
That’s it isn’t it? Our walk with God in obedience. Our Hope in Christ. Our Love for one another. Our eye’s fixed on Jesus as we run this race through life. Our morning coffee time in the Word and prayer. A prepared heart set for whatever life brings each day. Please someone, step on the dock of our little lake. God has “super cooled” my heart (Thanks Don)
May we all be in the process of becoming “Super Cool” before the throne.
Today, I will pack up the rest of the house to move 5 hours away to a foreign familiar land. The place where I grew up and lived over half of my life. The last couple months of this transition I have taken to heart Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
I turned off the news, I quit reading several blogs and am terribly behind on many, I pray more and go out of my way to really connect with relational starving people. I had asked God for some type of sign that I really should move back home and begrudgingly put the house up for sale. 48 hours later it was sold. It’s hard to do 2 out of 3 on that one but I wanted another sign..”God would you go ahead of us and help us to follow?” was our household prayer.
On one of my moving expeditions with a huge trailor, a rainbow double was beside the truck for an hour. I stopped at a side road and took this picture. Iroically, when we had moved with the company I worked for almost 7 years ago, a rainbow was arched over the building I would call my work place. I guess we have had several rainbows (literally) in our decision making life (God to angels” if you want Gary to make up his mind. Put out a rainbow).
“Ok Lord, you got this..um, why isn’t the road paved??” (God to angels “you should not have had that old road graded…it’s too nice).
Wow, God dressed up the western Sky in the Sunrise this morning!
This Sunday morning worship time with the Lord, before worshiping with others, I was facing west from our kitchen table, the opposite way to watch a sunrise. It took a half an hour for the sun to dress the morning. The western sky was really getting dressed up for this day. Random thought here:Which special saints are you bringing home today Lord?
I was reminded that God can take anything or anyone at hand to serve his purposes, communicate His truths or just get our attention. He has mine.
He loves us so very much and He seeks us, woos us, whispers on the wind and shouts from the skies. It’s all there in His word and in the hearts of his children who have found Him.
It’s possible that in the next 24 hours, millions of people will see some aspect of a beautiful sunrise around the world. Each one of us will have our own unique perspective point of the same event. Each of us has our very own unique relationship with God. I am merely sharing a small slice of mine with you.
Today: Let God speak to your heart his love, His Grace. Share this love, this Grace with someone else.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1
I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness. Jeremiah 31:3
Lately God has been speaking. I think I am listening. Am I listening? Sometimes he even highlights the clouds outside my window to get my attention. I’m really not ready to write yet, so I will listen more
It’s raining said the farmer as he spit into the wind…(An old saying on the farm). Yes, it’s a perception saying.
I took the above picture in the wind on my regular camera settings for still shots. Not very clear is it? In fact I spent part of the afternoon taking high speed pictures and captured some excellent mediocre shots. My subject matter was all over the place, often in the same picture.
This brings me to some questions we must all ask ourselves if we claim to be people of faith. “Does the subject of your faith change? When you feel like your faith is on shaky ground is it because your faith is really on your circumstances? recent events? other people? your faith community? The cataclysmic event that just happened in your life? I took a picture of a rock in our yard. It doesn’t move in the wind. Awhile back I wrote on it but that’s another time (The rocks cry out one of my first blogs way back).
Here is the deal. When others see us, watch us and take a look at our faith. what people see is a blurred confusing image if the subject of our faith is not Jesus Christ. He is our Rock and our salvation. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith and put to the side everything that gets in the way Hebrews 12:2
When Our Faith is all on Jesus, others can still see Jesus through our storm.
I put together some pictures taken in high winds from this afternoon. They may not be perfect but each one was in a protected niche from most of the wind. God is our shelter, rock, provide, protector,and I could go on…You get the picture. (Click for slide show)
I imagine God shelters us in ways we do not even see or understand. Consider a few lines from the old hymn “He hideth My Soul”
A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord A wonderful Saviour to me He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock Where rivers of pleasure I see
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock That shadows a dry, thirsty land He hideth my life in the depths of his love And covers me there with his hand (repeat)
A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord He taketh my burden a-way He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved He giveth me strength as my day
One more thought: I put my camera on a tripod for getting clear pictures whenever I can. People who watch our lives to see if Jesus is real (and they do) often have enough things shaking their world as it is. Hey, who among us sees clearly? Let’s not present a moving target of faith for shaky people trying to get the picture.
When Our Faith is all on Jesus, others can still see Jesus through their storm.
Check out the video of the haven of rest quartet G.W posted in the comments section. “He Hideth My Soul”
Notice, be alert and unravel little mysteries. When the sun goes down look for the reds, yellows, purples and other miscellaneous colors wafted on the clouds. Look for the highlights. When a small child yells out a command on a solemn occasion. What’s with that? When all 7 teenage boys commit their life to follow Jesus because their Sunday school teacher asks them if they would, find out the whole story. Some stories may be told for a life time. Some a short meaningful wisp. No matter what, the sun always sets.
16 year old Alexa was getting baptized a couple weeks ago along with 20+ others as a public announcement to follow Jesus. A solemn occasion. A six year old boy yelled out “Alexa, tell me a joke!” A very funny moment for those who knew little johnny (we will call him) lives in a smart house (can virtual Alexa tell a joke??)
Times are a changing are they not?
I had coffee and an amazing conversation with a friend Sunday afternoon. Somewhere between fishing, family and church stories he mentioned that all seven of his teen boys in Sunday school class had prayed with him to follow Jesus. I pushed him a little to know how that happened. After his normal disclaimer (it was all God and not me) the story of seven boys studying the scriptures about the basics for the past year. Things like redemption, sanctification and their biblical threads on through the ministry and purpose of Jesus death and resurrection. These boys were ready to pray. What a highlight!
Just a thought: Life’s truths are like puzzle pieces still in the box. Sometimes I am the six year old just reacting and unaware of what’s going on. Other times I am like my friend helping those around me (maybe too selectively) put some puzzle pieces together and introduce them to Jesus.
My hope is that on my final sunset, there will be some highlights, even in my wanderings, but highlights non the less.
Dad was known, on occasion, to say or do some unconventional things through out his life. I, being one of his 7 children, sometimes find myself flopping at doing similar things, but doing them anyway.
After dad’s memorial service…
Here is a copy of my note to James, a fellow basketball player on friday nights in the old clubhouse for many years (yes I changed the name)…
James, I kind of pulled a fast one on you. I put gobs of thank you cards in the church mail boxs. I saw you did not have a mail box so I took dads mail box ID paper out of his box, turned it over and wrote your name on it and put it into a box where your name should be. So…you are now taking dads place at church and you have a mail box. I told Pastor what I did as well. Anyway, all you have to do to take dads place is sit each morning with a cup of coffee at home with an open bible for a few words from God, and communicate with God about whatever is on your mind. The Holy Spirit will do the rest…No pressure. You meant a lot to dad so consider this dads last basketball move. now you have the ball.
Maybe this is not taught in discipleship class but just maybe the spiritual war zone for lives has too many sheathed swords on the Lords side. I’m all for being a little pushy sometimes if that’s what it takes.
Mom was a beginners piano teacher. She influenced the world. I will use myself as an example as all 7 of us siblings took lessons and I qualify as the least talented in my eyes. While you read, please put on this youtube video of me playing my rendition of moms favorite old hymn. This is a bit of an unconventional way to blog so let me know if it was worth the effort to play and read at the same time.
Now this is important! Please Open another window on your computer, go here https://youtu.be/Ehr5dukFjzw Click and start Video, then come back to read the blog while playing…trust me it will make sense later
VS 1 “Tis so Sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take him at his word” (Musically hesitant)
Well mom thought so all her life. She told me that God had a plan and could be trusted completely. I was 11 years lying in the hospital, both arms in casts after a saw blade came off a machine and cut both my arms to the bone on the inside near the elbow crease where arteries and nerves are housed . My median nerves were completely severed (a specialist tied them together). I couldn’t feel below the elbows on both hands.
“Just to Rest upon His promise, Just to Know thus saith the lord” (Musically slow but getting there)
Mom did not waver in her faith and trust in Jesus even though the hard times were sometimes very hard. She loved us and sometimes would cry when trying to discipline us (for our good, but didn’t seem so at the time). She had God, her huge garden, a piano, a community full of kids needing lessons and seven kids who ate very well off her cooking.
Chorus: “Jesus Jesus how I trust him” (Musically a little more sure and quite simple)
Even when we seemed to be wandering down the road away from God (she was not silent here). My siblings each have their own decision making and Mom stories. We would need many a week of campfires to sit around and tell those tales.
“how I’ve proved him o’er and o’er” (musically a few extra notes added)
I was mad at God. I blamed God for allowing my hands and arms to be useless, have no feeling or cramping phantom feelings. My muscles acted as if there was no one in charge. it would take 3 years to do a push-up and pull-up in gym class. I hated the doctor for telling my mom (which gave her way too much leverage) I would have clothes pins for fingers if I did not learn to play the piano or learn how to type.
“Jesus Jesus precious Jesus, Oh for grace to trust him more” (Musically ending a thoughtful phrase)
Mom was gentel, kind and cruel all at the same time. I sat at the piano for hours it seemed. “God has a plan” she would say. I was good at saying “ya” a hundred different ways. I didn’t see any plans coming down the pike anytime soon. I couldn’t feel the keys. My fingers didn’t really work. It took me 10 hours to play a little tune when others could do it in 20 minutes.
VS 2: “I’m so glad I learned to trust him, precious Jesus, Saviour, Friend” (Musically changes keys and begins an uplifting era of life)
I began to test the waters of life and one day made my choice. As a teenager I Chose to Follow Jesus. I knelt on the floor of our barn and told him I was all in. Like Mom and Dad and a few other people I knew, I was all in.
“and I know that thou art with me, wilt be with me to the end” (Musically sure, ready to run off a cliff with the music)
It was a learning struggle more complicated than cliff diving (which I would later try); it was more like making a run off the cliff in order to clear several boulders below and reach the deep safe water 50 feet below (tried this also). God proved himself in countless ways. Like Mom I was learning how to fly with trust even in the crashes.
Chorus: Jesus Jesus how I trust him, How I’ve proved him o’re and o’re (Musically marching through life)
We all got older. Mom began losing her memory. Quietly memories were stolen as the world marched on. I began to renovate this old hymn to play for mom, hoping she would be proud of her son.
“Jesus Jesus precious Jesus, Oh for grace to trust him more.” (Musically challenging and dynamics added for the massive ups and downs of life)
Mom got a fast acting cancer. Her prayers had been that she would not forget her kids and grandkids before she died. She didn’t. I played this song for her as she was in her wheelchair by the piano. She was all there and more. It was not just a “favorite” hymn. It was a lifes song, unwavering in a dimming body.
Chorus again: Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more! (Musically recapping moms life. I end with the final resolve chord then a little run up the piano as she leaves us to be with her Jesus, savior, Friend.)
I am not an accomplished piano player. My fingers can play some music and I have partial feeling in my hands and arms. This blog is not just about mom or about me playing the piano. I would like it to be a challenge to you the reader and listener in this way: that you would consider living your life all in. the only way I know how is to walk, listen and talk with Jesus, Savior, Friend daily. The proof is in the consistent upgrades that God’s Spirit brings about in our thoughts, speech and character of our being from within. This is The Simplicity of Legacy.
I hope this in a small way can be a part of Gods Legacy in you. get to the deep and safe waters my friend! Eternity awaits us all, choose and follow Jesus. No hesitation, no excuses. No wallowing in the “this happened to me stuff”. Tis so Sweet to trust in Jesus (till you close your eyes the last time sweet).
Disclaimer: I do not have video capabilities with WordPress which made this a little harder for you the reader, sorry. It was an experiment, let me know if it kind-a sort-a worked. I tried it on myself but I know the song too well.
This is how to get invited to events, camps, fishing and hunting trips and so on. This picture and pun will reveal all… Bring something to the table
We all have something to offer. We all have our particular ways to be in demand. To serve is a better way of understanding how to be invited. While it may seem to be self serving with this approach it is also a good personal measuring stick of our own character.
I met a couple of young gals (at a men’s retreat) who were invited everywhere. It seems they had bought the equipment from a coffee shop going under and were willing to be portable and serve. They had skills and great coffee. How about: they had skills and 100 kinds of really great coffee! They were also willing to take a stab at making anything requested with an adventurous smile. Side note: They were not single very long.
This morning as I plopped an easy made breakfast and some coffee onto the table I saw how the plate, cup, and book represented me. I cook, make special mugs (and a mean coffee) and speak in public at special events. I get invited. What’s more they invite me back (Remembering that journey will hopefully keep me humble).
What are you willing to bring to the table to serve others?
My day job keeps me very busy as well as home life. My heartbeat is summed up on the coffee mug of this second picture. This side of the mug says it all.
What Jesus brought to the table; The Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith Roll: Mine and Your part?
Credits: 3 eggs, 1/4 onion, 2 baby bell pepper, Men’s breakfast mug with thrice heated coffee and my bible opened to where I am at in my morning time with God (Hebrews 11). Oh ya, and bacon…don’t ever forget the bacon at a men’s breakfast.