To Bind up the Brokenhearted

This past week while preparing songs for the second Sunday of advent, I couldn’t help but feel inadequate.  Yes, those feelings hound us all from time to time.  My thoughts kept drifting to extended family situations, those which happened long ago, and some more recent, even though I was rehearsing words like….

“Come thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free”

Sunday came and our worship practice was rushed.  Some of us had arrived late due to freezing rain the night before. Everything had been frozen over with a thick sheet of ice.  My entire vehicle was imprisoned in a hard glossy shell. As I yanked on the handle to try to open the door I heard….

“From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee”

My husband was away, and I sat alone near the front.  As the church filled for the first service I kept wondering, “why God, would you want to have anything to do with someone as weak as I?

“Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art”

In the middle of a song I looked out and saw a friend, who had just returned to town from her Mother’s passing.  I had wanted to have her over for dinner right after she arrived home, but the time had slipped away. Another song and another face, a man who had  said goodbye to his wife last Christmas, due to a sudden serious illness.  “I need you” my heart cried.  “We need you”.

“Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart”

In between services I spied a new friend and slid into the pew beside her.  I had remembered she had told me something in passing – months ago, and It kept ringing in my ears.  I sat down and cautiously asked if I could inquire about her health.  She graciously shared about her illness and the necessary medications required. She went on to tell me a bit about her family and where she came from.

“Thank you for coming Jesus” I whispered under my breath, for taking on human form and walking among us to feel our pain”.  For sacrificing your life  in order to release us from the icy grip of despair and death. You alone, are our strength, and hope!  As we celebrate your birth in a manger, and long for your return –  may You be our desire and our joy!

 

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1).

Lyrics from “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” Text: Charles Wesley, Music: Rowland H. Prchard, Arranged by:  Robert Harkness

 

 

 

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…the bread crumbs

It never ceases to amaze me, the way He supplies our every need, and clears a path for us to grow.

This past week I felt like Gretel, following the bread crumbs.  Only, I found myself at the door of something much better than one built of candy.

I have been attempting to follow in my Savior’s footsteps for years, but only really left the boat just recently, became the fisherman, jumped on the sand with both feet. But the leaving continues, the shedding of my skin, the slippery scales of our society sliding off my eyes that I might see – the soul.  Not just my own, but others.

The woman who sat across the table and shared her heart, as well as humor.  The other who sat nearer so I could read every wrinkle and crinkle of her smile, the lines of suffering, and the glow of triumph.

Then another, on a different day, at yet another table.  My ears applauded her thick raspy tone of voice.  My eyes celebrated the meticulous waves, and curls of her salt and pepper hair, as I looked into her beautiful eyes.

And then the question on the exercise sheet; “What do you think of when you see the word “soul”?”

She left it blank.  She said she wasn’t spiritual, but I beg to differ.

Then the question; “What comes to mind when you think of heaven?”

She hoped there was a heaven, but wasn’t sure.

All the handouts, the paperwork, then a book my husband brought home.  What was God trying to tell me?  Where will all these breadcrumbs lead?  One paper said “self-care”, the book screamed “abandonment”.

“Jesus, sort it out for me, and keep helping me see what you want me to see”.

Help me to live with “…an uncompromising vision for the world as God sees it,….having the attitude of Jesus.” – Phil M. Wagler (from his book Kingdom Culture, Growing the Missional Church)

Philippians 2:5-11

Weak is the Strong

WEAK IS THE STRONG

I pity the child who searches in vain

who strives to be strong

man’s approval to gain

who hangs on his words

her purpose and worth

and builds on his walls

to honor man’s call

 

I pity the child whose body is grown

but mind left behind

man’s bars of control

She built on his praise

so twisted and tough

but we are all grass

and strong’s not enough

 

I pity the child who misunderstood

for weak is the strong

and humility good

to work for approval

annihilates grace

and crushes the spirit

and shadows God’s face.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9,10

copyright Cindy Palin, October 19th, 2014

 

Save Us from the Lie of The Fairy Tale

(please realize this blog post may not fit every scenario, and is not meant to. However it is my hope we can all glean more of His truth and grow.)

It is very dangerous to assume you know what is going on in another person’s life.  When you hear someone is hurting, you probably spend a lot of time asking yourself questions.  How can I help them?  How did they get here?  What did I miss?  What can I do?  Or, who can I blame?

It is especially difficult to speculate why a couple has separated.  Just because it happens everyday, doesn’t mean the world still sits on its axis.  It isn’t our job to fix people, but let’s be honest, we can ache, and we do.  We are all affected, we can’t stand around and pretend it isn’t happening.

Our daughter was having trouble making decisions the other day.  Her choice seemed so simple, until I realized that a relative’s family break-up was behind her indecision. You don’t have to be smack in the middle of a couple’s separation to come undone – just close enough to see the knife in their eyes, and Rapunzel’s wall begins to crumble. No one comes to wake the sleeping princess.  Suddenly you realize all the fairy tales read to you before bedtime, were just that – fairy tales. The color fades from the pages, and all that is left is reality.

Today’s reality reveals that many of the princes and princesses who vowed ’till death do us part, have fallen asleep.  Many have experienced extreme difficulty in their relationships.  Some have written other story-lines in which to live in, one that allows them to be who they want to be, or one that gives them permission to disappear.

How many people marry and believe that their soul mate, knight in shining armor, or Cinderella, is going to save them?  Save them from what exactly?  Reality?  Mistaken Identity?

How can we be who we want to be, if we don’t even know who we were meant to be?  We will not find ourselves by gazing in our spouse’s eyes.  All the love song lyrics in the world can never create the perfect love story, the perfect feeling perhaps, but only for a moment.  So how do we get to the “happy ever after”?

We will not find ourselves in our children’s eye’s, either.

I suggest we look to the truth, however boring that has become to our heavily sedated entertained minds.  The truth paints a much different picture and approach than we are used to.  The truth doesn’t come in comic book color, rather a politically incorrect black and white.  However – the truth deals in reality and guarantees a happy ending.  How can this be?  This happy ending isn’t woven by our own will, but the will of a true prince.  He died to save us from the lie of the fairy tale.  He knows who we are supposed to be, and can give us abundant life in every way.  By looking in his eyes, we no longer expect others to live up to our unrealistic super human expectations.  We can make mistakes, they can make mistakes.  But the truth does not make mistakes.  Because He is faithful, we too can be faithful.

Do you know who you are?

Do you know who Jesus says you are?

James 1:23 tells us “Do not merely listen to the word and deceive yourselves, do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it, not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.

Please don’t take this verse as a recipe for “doing”.  If you do anything – dig in the word.  Ask Jesus to reveal His truth to you, and then live by it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creatures of Habit

Strange, but writing out the phrase “creatures of habit” doesn’t bring me any kind of peace,  instead those words bring me to my knees.   On my knees to meet with Jesus who knows us all by name, who can release the same power in our lives that rolled away His tombstone and brought Him back to life the third day, a power that can save us, change us and rescue us from remaining “creatures of habit”.

My friend is going to continue to wait for an apology before he goes back to church, an apology that may never come.  So why wait?  Creatures of habit.

Another friend is waiting on God to show her what to do about a relationship she is caught in the middle of.  Question is, why didn’t she wait on him before she jumped into it?  Creatures of habit.

A dear loved one is having trouble reading the Bible.  She has witnessed God’s transforming power in other people’s lives, and wants to experience that transformation too.  The Bible sits on her end table day after day, waiting for her to pick it up, but she still believes the lies she was told when she was little.  “You’re stupid” someone said.  She still believes the lies she was told when she got married, “you’re stupid” he said.  She didn’t like those words then and certainly doesn’t like them now but they’ve become familiar.  So instead of trying something new, instead of picking up the Bible that is full of truth and freedom and promise, she sticks with what she knows best – lies.  Creatures of habit!

Someone battles day after day with garbage that was dumped on him years ago.  Powerful garbage, the kind that seeps into your pours and smells from the inside out.  He’s making progress, he’s gaining ground and then……creatures of habit.

Someone lost his temper the other day.  He thought he could keep it under control by ignoring it, by working hard, by going through the motions by telling himself he’s good and then it appeared and destroyed everything.  Creatures of habit.

Someone got badgered again.  He’s never taken the reigns to protect her, never understood his position of leadership.  Always thought someone else could say it, if he couldn’t and now she suffers every day because he never said anything.  Creatures of habit.

Oh Lord, deliver me from my sin and the person that I am.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit anew every day that I might soar high above the circumstances of life and be that new creation instead of a creature of habit. 

And Lord, teach me how to pray when I am on my knees.   Teach me how to pray for others, that they too will experience new life in you – and be released from merely going through the motions.  I believe!