Tag: grace (Page 1 of 2)

Psalm 23… Again

My Shepherd sweet
Meets all my need,
In pastures green,
By quiet stream… Always.

He heals my soul,
Keeps my path whole,
All for the sake
Of His great name… Always.

Though death draw near,
I will not fear,
For You’re my guide,
Right by my side… Always.

Your staff and rod
Give strength, O God!
Provisions flow
Before my foe… Always.

Oil soaks my head.
Your blessings spread,
My cup to fill
To over spill… Always.

Your goodness and
Your mercy stand…
No matter where,
They’ll meet me there… Always.

And I’ll exist,
In You subsist,
Your secret place,
Your house of grace… Always.

Posted on LinkedIn as a response to a recommendation to read

I’m a pretty avid reader (think 3-5 books a week), and I have been since I was five years old. The thing that trips me up about that is that I have found my time consumed by books that DON’T MATTER in the grand scheme of things, primarily because my favorite reading material is sci-fi/fantasy with mystery/thriller/action books a close second. Those things are just stories about fictional characters, and it’s just another kind of addiction/method of escapism. I know this. I have known this for years and years.

I do read non-fictional books as well, although not as many. 98% of those are Christian in nature. When I do read those, I find God speaking to me in a lot of different ways… but even those have not helped me as much as the people recommending those books thought that they would, or that I thought they would (help me, that is).

What I have found, though, is that reading the scripture gives me an almost tangible sense that God is breathing new life into me. Even if it’s something I’ve read repeatedly hundreds of times in my life time (Psalm 23 for example). When I’m desperate for a touch from the Lord, I don’t pick up a book that some really anointed (no sarcasm at all here!) spiritual leader has written. I do go back to the basics and reread the book of Genesis, or Isaiah, or various Psalms, or the gospels, or some of Paul’s letters, or even Revelation (especially when I need hope).

I realize the value in reading, and it is a sorely neglected skill. DO read. Do read recommended books. Maybe something that spoke to the person making the recommendation will speak to you. But first and foremost, READ THE BIBLE. It was my favorite storybook when I was a child, and that’s exactly how I think people forget to read it. We’re always looking for something from God in a verse that we want to speak to us, relevant to our situation. We’re usually studying it to dig out deeper meanings or to find support for things we feel God has put on our hearts.

How often, though, do we just sit down and simply read HIS story? It’s the story of His glory… how often He showed up and moved or spoke or breathed into a situation and changed that situation by simply being there. If you can just take it in, over and over again, then without even intending to do so by human effort, you will find yourself hiding His word in your heart.

Today was one of those days when I woke up flat on my back and couldn’t get up. I couldn’t do anything but lay there and cry for a few hours. But when I talked to the Lord, the scriptures whispered back to me. When I said, “I can’t handle this, Lord,” He said, “My grace is sufficient.” When I thought of how dark my life looks right now, Psalm 23 wandered through my heart: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” When I just wanted to scream that despair was overwhelming me, I heard, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for…” Even now, I keep hearing, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid?”

Reading matters. Reading the Word matters even more–not just to obtain something for a sermon or a song, not just to find an answer for an argument against Christianity, not just to find something that speaks to us when we’re looking for answers, but just because IT’S GOD’S WORD. When we know it well, He DOES use it to speak back to us when we need it, and He can use it to speak through us for someone else’s benefit in song, sermon, or just daily conversation.

Hope this has been helpful for someone.

On My Bed

I still my mind, when I can’t sleep,
To seek my Lord’s embrace.
He whispers with a voice so sweet,
“Come, tell me all your care.”
With grateful heart I throw it all
Before His throne of grace.
In answer to my Lover’s call,
I give Him every prayer:

The lonely hearts that I can see
And others that I know
Who battle with the enemy…
For grace and peace and rest;
For any who can serve or lead,
From high down to the low,
I feel a need to intercede,
And so, I give my best.

Then finally my heart grows still
And sleep begins to come,
Now I’m content, I’ve done His will.
I let myself succumb.

Wind and Fire

Upon reflection, I must disagree with you.
The Spirit still comes with wind and fire
To those who need His mighty touch,
Whether we are babes or long in the faith.
He is the I AM after all is said and done…
Great in power, mighty in deed,
Overwhelmingly here when He is manifestly present.
I will not dispute that He comes,
Quietly whispering peace to the soul’s distress,
But all of us need His unmistakable touch at some point,
To a degree that we cannot contain our reaction
Within some meekly restrained outward appearance of calm.
To rigidly constrain the Spirit as He flows through us
Is to quench the work that He is doing in us.

More times than not these days,
I find myself sitting still beneath His weightiness,
His unmoving, “I-AM-doing-something? presence.
I weep with the outpouring of His healing oil on me.
Even so, on occasion the sense of HIM, here,
Causes me to let go of my physical restraints
Till I am drunk with divine wine, and
He graces my soul with the joy of easy laughter.
Sometimes, the electrical shock of Spirit meeting flesh
Shakes me all over until my flesh submits and
The Spirit has His healing, life-changing way with me.

When He is done, I am more myself than before…
Just a little more light of heart, a little more rich with Him,
A little more deeply rooted in His all-sufficient grace.
There is no more refreshing experience
Than to be overcome by the Holy Spirit’s power,
But it is not the experience itself that is refreshment.
It is His explicit manifest presence and
My submission of self with all its flaws
So that I may know Him in the power of His resurrection,
As well as I am coming to know Him
In the fellowship of His suffering.

Holy Is The LORD Almighty

Angel feathers falling from the very throne of God
From the holy heavens bringing wonder from above.
There the living creatures worship where no man has stood
Crying, “Holy. Holy. Holy is the LORD…?

Golden glory cloud of dust hangs weighty in the air—
Holy Spirit manifests His love for all to see.
So, the sons and daughters in the kingdom stand in awe
Crying, “Holy. Holy. Holy is the LORD…?

Take our ordinary lives in these days full of dread
Radiate your grace and glory to the world around
Let light and life and love come permeate and bring all near
Crying, “Holy. Holy. Holy is the LORD…?

Jesus, Name above all names, let every tongue confess
Your majesty and resurrection power over all,
And every knee will bow before the very Son of God
Crying, “Holy. Holy. Holy is the LORD…?

For Holy is the LORD Almighty and the Lamb, who for us bled—
Everlasting Splendor, Sovereign Love, and King of kings.
He Who sits upon the throne as brilliant, cleansing Light
Calls us all to come to Him, redeemed by His own Life.

Morning Sky

Fingers of the morning sun pierce the clouds,
Like Your hand extended over the landscape,
Hovering above us all as sweet reminder of
Your goodness, Lord…
Your mercy, Lord…
Your continual grace that allows us to
Begin each new day with Your breath of life.
The deeply blue-gray clouds outlined
With golden filaments of light
Starkly contrasts pale blue-white sky
Like the wounded world against the healing heavens…
All held together in Your palm.

Sunshine

Today I feel like sunshine
Though it’s cold and wet and gray.
Inside my soul I feel fine
Though the storms of life hold sway.
It is odd but I can stand fast
Feeling rest and grace and peace
Never minding as I sail past
Other ships and harbors’ ease.

For the way of strength in Jesus
Is to know that I am weak
To acknowledge in my stresses
That His wisdom helps me seek
Past the folly of man’s goodness
Into truth and faith and love
And to stand upon God’s promise
With His new life from above.

Today I know just who I am
Though I sometimes forget
I am a child held in His hand
And should not grasp regret.
Repenting, I receive new life—
Confess, release, advance
Through Christ whose awesome sacrifice
Gives me a second chance.

Feel the Season Changing

I can feel the season changing.
Seems God’s always rearranging,
And I wonder what new strange thing
He is doing in my life.
As I look towards tomorrow,
I am hoping I that I will grow
Moving forward as I follow
Leaving worrying and strife.

I have learned so much the hard way
When I try to do things halfway.
Still there’s really only His way,
If I want to do them right.
Can I use what I’ve been learning
To obey Him without turning
And to use what I’m discerning
To trust God without my sight?

Faith is following His guidance
As He leads me in this romance
With the loving grace that He grants
When I’m stumbling along.
As I move into the next phase
He is changing me in new ways,
Giving mercy to me always—
He reminds me I belong.

In His everlasting promise
I can take each step with calmness,
Knowing He will hold me harmless
In the refuge of His wings.
He’s my dwelling place and fortress.
I will trust in His great goodness
Through the seasons’ steady progress,
Though I don’t know what they’ll bring.

Out With The Old Stuff

You confuse me.
Some days you act so belligerent and angry.
Then before I realize what’s happening,
You treat me with civility and courtesy.
It leaves my head spinning and
My insides churning because
I never know what to expect.
I don’t understand you at all.
 
I don’t think I ever will, if the truth be told.
I can only be grateful for the peaceful moments,
Let go and forgive the angry ones, and
Be thankful I am no longer with you…
I only count the moments now
Until the kids are grown and I can
Let it all go behind me with the rest
Of the clouded confusion and anger.
 
In the meanwhile,
Today only reminds me again
How deep this old wound is
To still make me shiver with fear,
Then tense with angry, runaway thoughts
Of all the imbalances and inequalities
I still have to endure at your hand,
Whether politely or otherwise.
 
Dear Jesus, help me breathe again–
Out with the old stuff and unforgiveness,
In with all Your grace and mercy,
Remembering that what You gave to me,
I must give to others.

For Ryan and Shawna

You are astonishing, Lord!
It amazes me to stand here
As your hand slowly unfolds
To reveal the tiny gift inside.
The waiting isn’t over, but
It seems as if Your plan is clear.
My friends are rejoicing
With some reserve as of yet.
But life bundled up in a baby boy
Just bounces around and
Smacks you in the heart with joy!
It’s hard not to hope that
Your hand is holding grace, that
Your goodness will be the sure hand–
Even though, for now, we still wait,
I’m going to trust You to know best
Still hoping for long years of prayer
To be answered in THIS gift.

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