Trying to Fly?

Imitation Wings

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and He will make your paths straight. Psalm 3:5-6

I have experienced the difference between trying to fly (living in my own strength), and taking flight (trusting in the Lord).

lyrics from “the Walking Dead” on “My Heart’s Lament” Album. featured in my upcoming book “The Faith Keeper”.

initial image from http://www.dreamstime.com, added quote and design by Cindy Palin

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Babylon is Not My Home

I walked past the piano on my way to bed last night, and noticed a layer of dust. I pulled out the bench, clicked on the desk lamp, and sat down.

Prayers for a friend were heavy on my heart. I was reminded how a veil of dust can cover many things in our lives, and I began to write.

Verse One: “The dust had covered my beloved, futile thinking had come, but not for long, not forever, Babylon is not my home.”

I then remembered my journey in my twenties, dating a fellow whom I loved very much, but going about our relationship in a very different way than what God commanded. There was a picture of Jesus in his bedroom, and every time I looked at it I was reminded of my Saviour, and what He did for me on the cross.

Eventually I shook the dust of deception from my spirit, and stopped pretending to be someone I was not. I didn’t belong in that relationship, I belonged to Jesus. My joy would never be full without trusting Jesus, and obeying Him.

Scripture tells us of a time when the Israelites had forgotten God, and went their own way. As a result God exiled them to a foreign country, Babylon. At one point the captors ask the musicians of Israel to sing, and their reply is:

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? Psalm 137:1-4

My relationship with my boyfriend was like living in a foreign land. I tried to talk to him about my faith, but eventually it drove us further apart.

I wrote verse two: “By the river, I hung my harp up, no more reason to sing, but not for long, not forever, I’m the remnant and He’s my King.”

The bible tells us, “A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. A remnant will return; yes, the remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God” Isaiah 10:21.

My eyes began to get heavy as I worked on the chorus portion of the song. I couldn’t finish last night, but before I put down my pen and paper, another scripture verse came to mind.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13.

If you have heard the voice of God call you into a relationship of faith in Jesus Christ, and have made a decision to follow Him, then everything you do thereafter will be subject to God’s will for your life. If you are living outside of His will, as the Israelites were, you may feel as though you are in exile. Your joy is hanging on a poplar tree, and you cannot breathe let alone sing, because you are in a foreign land where you do not belong.

God sees you, His love’s relentless, and he desires to see your relationship with Him restored.

Late Night Talkin’

Digging through my files I find “Late Night Talkin'”, written in the summer of 2009.

As I read through the lyrics it isn’t hard to remember what event inspired me to write.

When your kids are small, and they scrape their knees, you get the colorful cartoon band-aids out and then follow it up with a barrage of tender kisses.  All is forgotten and healed in a matter of seconds.

When they’re not so small, and their first love rejects them, no amount of mama’s kisses will do.  So I spent a lot of late nights talking to Jesus.

“Late Night Talkin'”

Use to be I spent a lot of time dreaming, who would I fall in love with?

What would his name be and how many children, would God choose to give?

Well the wedding was sweet and my lover so fine,

and our children are better than best,

So why does the pain never leave? Band-aids to heart-break it seems.

Falling down never was good, at least I could kiss ’em better again.

If it wasn’t for late night talkin’ asking Jesus, precious Jesus,

please be with us – where would we be?

Now we always tell them to never stop dreaming, nothing is too far to reach.

Trust in the Father, and honor your parents, and be the best you can be.

Well the journey starts sweet but the world isn’t kind

and we all end up put to the test,

So why does the pain never leave? Band-aids to heart-break it seems.

Falling down never was could, at least I could kiss ’em better again.

If it wasn’t for late night talkin’, asking Jesus, precious Jesus,

please be with us – where would we be?

….at the bank

Returning from a week break, I began to prepare for our worship team practice among other things.  I decided to rally the troops and call in extras in case my voice did not return in time for Thanksgiving Sunday.  After calling a couple of friends and finding out they were going to go home for the Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to leave things as they were.  I had done everything in my power to be responsible, the rest was up to God.  I wasn’t the first worship leader to sound like a croaky frog recovering from an illness, and I wouldn’t be the last.

I put away the church phone directory and whispered a small prayer of trust to Jesus, then off to the bank to run an errand for our daughter.

As I explained to the teller that I was depositing something for my daughter, she made conversation by asking where my daughter was.  Briefly I explained that she was away in another country studying the Bible.  The teller beamed and relayed that she had just finished Bible School in a nearby town.  I was delighted to hear that the new young woman at our bank was a believer, and newly married.  I asked her if they had a home church.  In no time we both found out we were attending the same one!

I croaked out that I would be seeing her the next day, as I was leading worship.  Excitedly she asked about choir.

“Could it be she liked to sing?” I asked myself.

“Would you be interested in singing on the worship team tomorrow?” I asked without hesitation.  In the same spirit, she responded with a jubilant “yes!”.

It never even dawned on me that she might love to sing but not have the ability at all.

“I love hymns!” she chirped.

She didn’t have a problem with the 8:00 a.m. practice either.

I leaned across the counter and said “two strangers in a bank, who’d have thought?”

She leaned in closer too and replied “we’re not strangers anymore.”

I walked out of the bank feeling as if it was meant to be, and do you know why?

Because it was.

 

 

 

Trust Remembers the Rainbow…

What to do when we are hurting or someone we love is in pain?  Humanity falls so short of who God is and how he responds to our pain.  As believer’s we pull out the trust card, but realize we can’t find it.  The storm has come and the wind has blown our trust away.  All we can see is the fog.  All we can feel is frozen.

We sink into despair.  Despair is close at hand and can be found.  Our minds keep weaving webs of blame, “what did we do wrong?”, when we should be asking “who is God?”  God is faithful, and someone we can trust.

Trust is not searching frantically for our umbrella to keep us dry.  Trust is standing in the pouring rain knowing He is beside us.  Just as the rain grows the fruit of the field, so our pain can grow the fruit of the spirit, if we trust that God is indeed in control.

Trust is knowing He loves us soaking wet with tears, or dry to the spiritual bone.

Trust is not trying to be who we think we need to be, in order to forge a future, but asking God to be our future.

Trust is stepping aside, because His plans are better than our own.

Trust exists in the midst of pain.  Like folded angel wings it waits.  Trust remembers the rainbow, the cross, and Easter morning.  Every pang and sting grows fainter as we….

…”Trust in the Lord with all our strength and lean not unto our own understanding, but acknowledge him in all our ways, and He will direct our path” Proverbs 3:5,6

Who is God?  He is our creator.  If He can give us life, He can sustain us.  If He can raise Christ from the dead, He can heal us.  If He is preparing a place for us in eternity, then he most certainly can help us find our place here on earth.

And so we pray for our beloved who is in pain…

Colossians 1:9  “…from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding”

I feel a Crack Coming On….

Human emotions are complicated.  You never really know what is lying just below the surface to make someone decide one thing or another.

I’ve noticed that quite often, I decide I know – when the reality is – how can any of us really know what is going on in someone else’s head?

I have a theory.  It comes from observing and listening and bungling things up for a very long time.  If you see someone who is acting rude – chances are that person is very insecure, or afraid.  If you see someone act like a snob, and down right unapproachable, chances are that person is acutely shy.  If you see someone acting stubborn, putting a wall up, and shutting down – chances are they are broken-hearted.  No, really, this isn’t just my eternal optimism talking.

You don’t have to be broken-hearted about lost love, there are plenty other things to be broken-hearted over, and I mean plenty.

The problem is, if we all shut down because of our broken hearts, there isn’t going to be any moving forward, there isn’t going to be life.  We might expect the other person to do what ever needs to be done, but what if that person is shutting down?  What if that person needs support?

I recognize how I am made, my personality type.  I took one of those tests from a book called; “Discovering your Strengths”.  Only problem is, my highest scoring trait isn’t very helpful when push comes to shove.  My greatest strength according to the book is “responsibility”.  This means I want to do the right thing at every turn.  What does that equate to?

This means, I am bound to be alone a lot.  If I am not careful, my “responsibility” could turn around and become – resentment.

This is why it is important for me to hang on very tight to Jesus.  If I can’t be sure what the other person is going through, and I don’t want to assume, and step on toes, I can always ask Jesus for help.  Quite simply, “Jesus, how am I suppose to proceed?”

Here is where it gets really painful.  Don’t get me wrong, having a faithful friend in your corner is the best thing you could ever have, but He is always going to ask you to do the hard stuff.  “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself” (Philippians 2:3 KJ21).

 So, yesterday, now, and forevermore, I need to move through life with my heart in His hands.  There’s that little word “trust”.  It is only five letters, but it packs a punch, because trusting often means suffering in silence, oh yes and holding the bag.

The bag that has the smiles in it, and the tender voice, and the soft response, and the understanding song, and the hand pats, and the open arms, and the prayers, and the tears….

Sometimes being a Mom, and the oldest sibling isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be.  Wait a minute, maybe it is – I feel a crack coming on right now.

The sacrifices of God [are] a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17 NIV).

Our Preference or God’s Wisdom?

Ever since the beginning of time God has given us directions to help us connect the dots, crucial dots to keep us on the journey of faith so that we can finish well.

One of his directives is; “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”      (Hebrews 10:24,25).

It is interesting to note that these verses come under a heading in the chapter entitled; “A Call to Persevere in Faith”.  One of the meanings for the word ‘persevere’ found in http://www.dictionary.com is; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement, continue steadfastly.

We can connect the dot; body of believers, to the next dot; keeping the faith, and believing in His purpose for us, but far too often we allow the discouragement of life to separate us from people.  This is where we can veer off the path and may disconnect.  This is the place where the enemy waits.  Wander off alone, and we are an easy target for false everything!  We cannot persevere alone, “for every goal reached there is a friend in the wings”.

Many may argue that we can declare our faith and remain in obedience to Christ without a church body by practicing church at home, or we can find the Body within the fellowship of a small group Bible Study.  These practices enhance our collective gathering, but should not be relied on alone.  The danger is; our preference as opposed to God’s wisdom.  The very idea of practicing faith without the Body reveals our inability to trust that God knows best.  Our decision to make our own church can come from a place of arrogance, which uncovers an unwillingness to be accountable, first to Christ, secondly – to each other.  Please be very careful and test everything with what the Word of God says (1 Thessalonians 5:14 – 23).

By neglecting to gather together we disobey Christ, announce our distrust, insult the cross.  How do we learn to love one another if we are alone?  Further, defaulting to independent choice, and creating a family we are comfortable with is trusting in our own strength, and the danger of a clique or a prejudicial group may follow.

There have been some very discouraging events in my life lately.  I have found it difficult at times to want to go to church, because it means I may need to engage in conversation.  As I struggle with my own weaknesses I turn to God and ask him to put one foot in front of the other, that I might obey his commands.  I get up and go and join my family in Christ, and look for Christ in the crowd.  I get up and go and join my family in Christ and listen for His voice, and He never disappoints.  The times I have hurt the most and have chosen to participate in worship has revealed the meaning of ‘sacrificial praise’, and the mystery of Christ has become clearer.

The enemy may tell you that you don’t belong, that you’re not quite ready to be part of an elite social club.  This is a lie from Satan.  The body of Christ is not an elite social club, dig into God’s Word and find out what God says about the Body.

And have you ever considered; you might be the face that someone sees Christ in?  Do not stay away any longer.  Let us persevere together.

1 Timothy 4:16
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.