Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Gentle Savior’ Category

A Solid Resting Place

Sunset - 6 Feb 2008

Image by rachel_titiriga via Flickr

I am always comforted by scripture – the many passages that speak to me and help me find that solid resting place for my weary mind – as I am surrounded by the cares and sorrows of this world.

As I look ahead at the new year – I am reminded once again of God’s faithfulness and love shown to me over the last year and all of my life.  I have gone through things and have watched those around me be touched by sorrow, joy, happiness, pain and regret.  But in the midst of all of it – good and bad, He was always there.  That still small voice that always covers me and won’t let me go.  And I am so thankful that I know Him – and that He is a merciful God.

My prayer is that you too will find Him a solid and reliable friend – in times of joy and in times of trouble.  That you will find a reason and purpose for your life – and that you will allow Him to show you and help you with all those unanswered questions.

Below are some scriptures of comfort and hope – as we look forward to the new year.

 

God Bless

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Jeremiah 29:11

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 3:13-14

“You crowned the year with Your bounty and goodness…”
Psalm 65:11 (Amplified Bible)

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

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God Bless

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HOLY SPIRIT - FOIX

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I have a heaviness in my spirit today.  I usually do not add a preface to my articles – but today I really feel that this is for somebody out there.  Someone who has felt condemnation and judgment from others.  I trust that this will help you today – this is for you.

I’ve always been fascinated by reactions of people when given a certain situation to navigate through.

Everyone responds differently.  It is not wrong to respond differently – it is just that we can’t all be put into a ‘box’ and be expected to look at things in the same way. Although – that is exactly what we do.  Expect people to look at things the right way – our way.

My husband used to use an illustration in some of his messages.  He would talk to Christian people and explain how the Holy Spirit can cause a reaction in our lives much like someone touching a live wire.  Here are a few ways people may respond:

1.  Jumping up and down, screaming and shouting and holding onto their hand that was hurt.

2.  Some might feel something but then deny they even felt it.

3.  Others may feel a tingle and say ‘ouch’.

In the same way when something  touches our life – especially the negative painful things – we have a few different ways to react to it:

1.  We jump around, scream and shout and coddle our hurt heart.

2.  We say, ‘You hurt me ‘  And never move on.

3. We say, ‘ouch’ – and move on – and never  touch that painful thing again.

I’ve seen this – and I’ve lived it. Even after doing everything to ‘bare my soul’ so to speak – and to do the right thing after something negative – sometimes the reaction from another person is still  negative. There are always going to be those in life that choose to see others in a negative light – even when we are all fallen, sinful creatures – and can hardly hope to redeem ourselves by casting the first stone. I suppose people do this because it makes them feel better – but I’ve never understood it.

And I am well aware that people see things and events differently too.  And like the above  – they are as varied in reaction as the people who react.  There have been those people in my own life who are quick to point fingers at me and tell me how sinful, terrible and unrepentant I am.  Never knowing the hard long journey that I have taken in efforts to keep my own heart right before God.  And the long soul-searching spent in much prayer asking God’s forgiveness and direction.  I’m sure we all have people like that in our lives.  I sure have in mine.  Those who would try to muzzle me from telling things in my own words – or those that even have the audacity to tell me how I feel – and more horrible than that – not only how I feel (or felt) – but they love to paint and dark and scary picture of what could have happened – based on nothing but speculation and supposition.  It’s insane – and only God has the inside track to who I am – what I’m thinking and just what my motives are for thinking or doing them.  Again these are reactions to their own pain, hurt, confusion and frustration.  And I can only pray for them and feel sorry.

My husband knows more than anybody how I have wrestled with criticism – founded and unfounded by those who at one time were my friends.  And how I have done the long hard work of keeping my heart clean from resentment from those who would still judge me without really knowing me and try to hold me hostage for my past mistakes.  I am guilty as charged.  I’m graciously forgiven by my Lord and Saviour.   I have had to be broken before God to make sure that everything is right inside of me.  And I learned something.  Even when you do this – even when everything is forgiven and covered by God – there are those that still will not believe it. And never will.  Therefore the only reaction that I really care about is God’s reaction to me –  and God’s alone.

There is such amazing freedom in this – He loves me.  He forgives my many mistakes.  He has covered all the sin in my life as He promises to do.  He is gracious and full of mercy – and does not react in a bad way – making me pay somehow.  Nor does he remind me of the past – and just how sinful and terrible I am.  I am then free to love you – with no apprehension – with no hidden agenda – just pure motive of wanting a right relationship – insomuch as is in my power to do so.

And those that continue to react badly – those are the people you feel sorry for – assign them an ‘outer orbit’ and you cut them loose – hoping and praying that others will be kinder to them – then they have shown kindness.  And that they will someday learn that it’s just not worth it to point the finger of blame.  And much better to just let it go and forgive – especially themselves.

I am praying for you

God Bless

I’ve Earned My ‘Life’ Stripes

The Passage of Time

Image by ToniVC via Flickr

This morning my husband and I were reflecting on some poignant and growing moments along the journey of our lives and the passage of time.  Each person has events happen – unique to only them – and we are no exception to this.  It is our story – our ‘rite of passage‘ – our legacy.

Many times throughout our lives  – we found ourselves in strange circumstances – only to be followed up by the bizarre and ridiculous.  The stretching and growing things of life – born out of difficulty and contrary circumstances have given us balance and perspective.  Nothing surprises us too much anymore – and we have learned to make it through any storm that life throws at us – wait it out – and know that the sun will shine again someday.  And it always does.

It begins early in our life when seeking to gain independence. And what we always find – is that freedom has a cost.

Our daughter learned this when she moved out of her childhood home and into her own apartment.  Things were free at home – but they came with a cost.  House rules and limitations.  Independence had a price tag – a very high price tag – but she was willing to pay it.  Our son will have to learn the same thing when he is weary of living by our ‘rules’ at home. And grows beyond the constraints of Mom and Dad.  He will feel his itchy feet feeling the need to establish himself in the real world – and to become independent from us – and become a man.

And so it is as we mature – and we develop our own ‘voice’.  We have to count the cost – ask ourselves – “is it worth the price?” and most of the time – if we want it bad enough – it is. It means stepping out – taking a leap of faith and going for it – no matter what others say.  This is how we gain wisdom and experience.  Sometimes good experiences – sometimes bad.  Sometimes we keep our cool – sometimes we don’t.  But we learn.  By necessity – we learn.

It is in those experiences that we earn our ‘life’ stripes.  We get to a certain age and wear them proudly – displaying them in our faces  – the many laugh lines and stress lines too – and in our bodies – worn out by wear and tear – year after year.  This all too – is part of what we earn.  Part of the lessons of life that you can’t teach to others – it is what you have to live through – experience  – and be willing to make it through to the other side.  Our ‘life’ stripes have bought us our independence and ‘our story’  – but it has also come at a very high price. Loss of friendships and of ideals.  A  new-found awareness that people can be unkind and even cruel – leading to a resignation of how things are.  And how things will continue to be.  A forever loss of innocence.

But in the midst of all of this ‘life’ – I’m proud to say that God has been at the center of everything we have ever gone through as a family – or as a married couple.  We’ve made plenty of mistakes – and will continue to make them – because we are not perfect – in fact hopelessly flawed and in need of a Savior every day to save us from our selfish ways.  I’m thankful that because of His great love and patience for us – we are able to do as well as we do – all with a sense of humor and kindness.  He gives us our ‘life’ stripes and we proudly display them – day after day – year after year.  And in this new ‘season’ of life that we have found ourselves in – we have found life to be very sweet – and God has replaced the bad with good – and given us way more than we deserve – a wonderful family and friends that are daily in our lives – supporting us and making us thankful every day.  And when life seems hard and not fair – I find myself coming back to what I know.  That He is good.

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness – even when I am not faithful.

Thank you Lord for your patience – when I am so impatient.

Thank you for the hard lessons you have brought me through – even when I was unteachable and stubborn.

Thank you that I have the  ability to look back over the years and see your hand over my life – for your protection and great love and for thinking me worthy enough to handle the strict discipline of your love.

Yes – I’ve earned them.  I’ve earned my ‘life’ stripes.

Thank you.

God Bless

Come To Jesus

Guatemala: handsy Jesus

Image by xeni via Flickr

Fairly unknown artist, Mindy Smith came on my Pandora radio this afternoon singing a song she had written for her Mother – when her Mother was dying from cancer.  The song is called, ‘One moment more’ – and is really beautiful.  As I was listening to it – the song below caught my eye – ‘Come To Jesus’ – and it peaked my curiosity – so I listened to it – and was moved – the images of angels and Jesus are so beautiful – it was so encouraging to me – so I knew I had to post it.

Ever gone through a hard time?  And you don’t know how you’ll make it through?  Maybe the lyrics of this song will encourage you today – and maybe you’ll feel that you are not alone – even when it seems you are.

I am praying for you

God Bless

Oh, my baby, when you’re older
Maybe then you’ll understand
You have angels to dance around your shoulders
‘Cause at times in life you need a helping hand

Oh, my baby, when you’re prayin’
Leave your burden by my door
You have Jesus standing at your bedside
To keep you calm, keep you safe,
Away from harm

Worry not my daughters,
Worry not my sons
Child, when life don’t seem worth livin’
Come to Jesus and let Him hold you in His arms

Oh, my baby, when you’re cryin’
Never hide your face from me
’cause I have conquered hell and driven out the demons
I have come with a light to set you free

Worry not my daughters,
Worry not my sons
Child, when life don’t seem worth livin’
Come to Jesus and let Him hold you in His arms

Oh, oh
Oh, oh
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Oh, my baby, when you’re dying
Believe the healing of His hand
Here in Heaven we will wait for your arrival
Here in Heaven you will finally understand
Here in Heaven we will wait for your arrival
Here in Heaven you will finally understand

Worry not my daughters,
Worry not my sons
Child, when life don’t seem worth livin’
Come to Jesus and let Him hold you in His arms

Your Healing Touch

Last night I watched a movie about a terminally ill man.  The man was in his forties – was divorced and had a 16-year-old rebellious son.  In one scene he collapses and ends up in the hospital – talking with a young nurse on night duty about his regrets and his life.  He tells her about his son – his painful divorce and no one to love him.  She asks him what he would do if he knew he only had 4 months to live and he tells her, “I’d build a house”  She feels compassion for him and reaches out to touch him.  He pulls back and tells her that he’s uncomfortable with touch – because no one has touched him in a long time – in fact he couldn’t remember the last time someone in his life had done that.   A look of understanding comes across her face and she quietly closed the curtain that surrounded his bed and then sits down next to him and touches him. She lovingly strokes his head with her soft hands and lets him feel her warmth as she placed both her hands on his face – on his cheeks.  It was one of the most moving scenes I have ever seen in a movie – there was no sound from either of them – just simple, tender human touch.

I have known people like this in my life.  People who desperately needed to be loved and touched.  Those that for their own reasons – shrink back from people touching them – even though they really need it.    I can only imagine that they are ‘prickly’ and pull away because of fear – fear of rejection or of being hurt – or maybe because of a bad experience – an abusive parent or harsh teacher – an angry boyfriend or girlfriend – or maybe even a physically abusive spouse.  I even knew one male friend that barely escaped with his own life from an abusive and mentally disturbed spouse.  These events and more can make people feel ‘unloved’ and cause them to pull away from touch and love from those around them.  A hug might be no big deal to you and me – after all I give them everyday – to my husband and kids – my friends and students – but I always know the ones that have a hard time accepting my touch – my love – any physical form of connection – such as a hug or simple squeeze around the shoulders – or on the hand.  And yet – I know it is very important that they feel it.  And it is very important that I touch them – anyway.

Jesus touched people.  The unlovely.  The sick and diseased.  The ones that others would turn away from.  He reached out – and touched them.  And in that simple act of intimacy – people were healed – both emotionally and physically.  Jesus healed people from the inside out.  His touch was like a healing balm of oil poured on their heads and it released something sick and dying inside – all with a touch.

There is power in touch today.  Ever have a good massage?  That touch is healing and releases something tight and pent-up inside your muscles.  If done right – and deep enough into the tissue people have actually been known to cry – something is released and even deep memories of past can be brought out.  It is not unusual to have people become emotional during a massage – because sometimes it is just what that person needs.  The loving touch of someone.  Gently stroking those tired and sore muscles – going deep into the stress and fatigue of everyday living – of regret and heartache.  Bringing relief – bringing joy and release.

How much more important is it to touch those we love?  How important is a hug, a caress, a kiss?  It is HUGE.  We need to touch our kids – hug them lots and make sure we express something through our gently, loving and much-needed embrace.

The human touch.  The healing embrace.  The caress that says much more than mere words can.  The silent love language of touch. It is still needed as we grow and mature into adulthood.  Sometimes more so if you didn’t have it much as a child – or if you’ve been through something traumatic and painful.  The touch that says, “I see you.  I care.  You are valuable to me”

Don’t be afraid to reach out and touch someone.  It may be the only thing that someone understands.  It may be the only thing that someone is missing in their life.  You may be the only link they have to forming an opinion about a loving God.  Your touch and reaching out to them – may be the one thing that makes them want to know more about God and his loving embrace.  So hug them.  Your touch may be the only Jesus they can understand.

God Bless

Mercy’s Arms

We were visiting Evergreen Foursquare Church yesterday in Auburn, Washington – where our friend Doug Bursch is the pastor.   The message was probably the best one I have ever heard – on the subject of humility.  It is amazing how we can grow up in the church and even see the same passages of scripture and yet – when somebody else reveals another truth from those passages – it can seem like it’s brand new.  This happened yesterday.

I am constantly amazed at how God will speak – using people and things in our lives to drive home a point and whisper truth into our hearts.  We spend so much time and energy on ‘puffing ourselves up’ to look good – or to feel better – even if we don’t openly admit it – and we can sure find fault with everyone else – again to make us feel good.  We may say to ourselves, “well – I don’t do what THEY do – so I’m better than they are”  – or, “good grief – I’m glad I’m not like them – they’re so WEAK.  I would never do that”  Be very careful – for what you see in your neighbor you are VERY capable of having the same thing happen – unless you take care of your own heart.

What Doug pointed out yesterday was this:  All sin is against God alone.  We don’t sin against our brother or they against us – it’s ALWAYS a problem between God and us – and if I don’t get down to the root of the problem with God alone – I will always point fingers and blame – but it won’t do me any good – in the end I need to come to the complete resolution that I have sinned against God and He will hold me accountable.  I cannot control what others do – I can only control me.  I think sometimes I feel justified in feeling as I do – when others harm me – or hurt me.  And it is completely wrong.

Jesus took a position of servant. He didn’t have to.  But He humbled himself and tried to teach it to the men around him – even though they were pretty ‘brain dead’ and just ‘didn’t get it’ most of the time.  His was a model of humility for me – to take the lowest position – become lower and lower – prefer others over me – even if I feel just the opposite.  Even if others use me – discard me – blame me and mistreat me.  It doesn’t come naturally – because it is the sin nature inside of me that wants to blame – deflect and feel justified.  It is not easy to take on humility.  It is just the right thing to do.

And like the song lyrics below – the ‘walls’ of pride around my heart have to crumble – as I learn to surrender to all He has for me – and surrender to “Mercy’s Arms”.  And as I do – I find that my heart is forever changed – I begin to take on the character and humility of  Christ – as He cleans up my heart – becoming less and less like myself and more and more like Him – so others will catch a glimpse of Jesus in me.

God Bless

The mighty fortress walls
I have built around my foolish heart
how they crumble and they fall
as I surrender all
to Mercy’s Arms

Bathed in holy rain
cleansed from sinner’s bitter stain
only love remains
I’m forever changed
by Mercy’s Arms
sweet the surrender
sweet the embrace
sweet the forgiveness
to one forever undeserving of his grace
safety encircled
rested and warmed
sweet is the taste of love that awaits
un Mercy’s Arms

In the light the life the way
is the key unlocking every chain
sin is lost and freedom gained
the price was paid
by Mercy’s Arms

When I reach my journey’s end
how I hope that He will call me friend
and reach out for me again
forever spend
in Mercy’s Arms

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