Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Living Water’ Category

My Neti Pot

Ceramic neti pot; neti pots can also be made f...

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Yes I use a Neti Pot.  It has been a life-saver with this bad cold that I developed this last week – after being run down, tired, off my normal schedule and yes – exposed to the virus from other students and parents because of the close quarters doing a theater production.  Cold’s usually stay clear away from me – and normally I am prepared for them – or rather, usually I have better defense against them coming.

When students come into my home each week I am ready for them with my anti-bacterial gel and I unapologetically squeeze some their hands and make them rub it in – it protects both them and me. This has kept me and my family safe from outside germs quite successfully for years – in fact I can’t even remember the last time I even had a head cold!

But that was before this last week’s production and MANY sick people all in the same place – breathing the same air.  And it is impractical to go around insisting on everyone using anti-bacterial gel on their hands – although I’m sure we could have posted a few students around the lobby with the gel in their hands – willing and able to squirt a little into each hand that came in.  But even then, it may have been too late.  Can’t you just see it?  “Here’s your program and a little squirt of gel so you won’t infect us – now enjoy the show!”

So with this cold I have been using my Neti Pot (a little pot of warm salt water) to flush out any and all clinging mucus from my nasal cavities – and prevent it from getting too happy up there and starting a sinus infection.

I’m almost sure that there is a practical application regarding Neti Pots – to flush out the bad, harmful or sinful inclinations that we all posses.  But I am at a loss.  And since one has to be pretty sick – and realize that they are sick to use one – the application might fall short anyway.

You see spiritually – the battle is with ourselves – understanding and admitting that we are unable, and inadequate to help ourselves.  We need the help of our Great Physician – the one who made us.  We need His help to purge us and go deep into the areas of our heart and soul – cleansing us from those things that linger and make us spiritually sick.

In Psalm 147:3 the psalmist says, “He makes the broken-hearted well and puts oil on their wounds”

So I guess you might say – He is our Neti Pot – and He offers a warm healing balm of oil over our soul – to all who are broken and sadweary and lostsick and dying.  Jesus is the only healing balm you need.

Do you feel lost?  Run down?  Weary and exhausted?  Rest in Him today and allow Him to pour out that oil of loving kindness and strength today.  His healing is permanent – it is for your sick soul – the part of you that lives forever and never dies. Won’t you have a little talk with Him today?

God Bless

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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

I Belong

It’s so nice to know.

God Bless

We Like Sheep

I am like a Sheep.  I am a Sheep.  And so are  you.

I find it interesting that of all the creatures on earth, Jesus compared us to sheep.  The first reason is clear – He took ordinary things in people’s lives and used them for illustration, to make His message understandable by the ordinary working class.  But there is also another reason.  Those that have worked with sheep and been with them for any length of time can testify that there is nothing quite so dumb as a sheep. The comparison is true.  It is speaking of you and me.

Sheep wander, they get lost, and believe it or not – they DO NOT LEARN.

It’s almost insulting to be compared to these hopelessly ridiculous creatures – and yet…

I am humbled by the words of Jesus.  And touched by His protection over me – just like a shepherd.  Protecting, leading and guiding.  Watching, hoping and believing that I’ll finally get it right.  All the while knowing that it is a stretch because I am a sheep. Hopelessly dumb – and constantly wandering and yes –  even getting lost.  I break away many times in my much-anticipated freedom – breaking off the restraints that hold me safe – only to find that I am more lost than ever before.  I blow it – get off track and wander even further away from His loving arms of protection – it is then that I realize – I am nothing without the lavish love of the Great Shepherd.  Will I ever get it right?  Will I ever learn?  And this is why – we need a Savior.  Jesus came to save His lost sheep.  It wasn’t enough that the lost were found – He loved them so much that He died for them.

Sheep-flock with shepherd.......

Image by Astrid Photography. via Flickr

Isaiah 53 (Message Bible)

We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him.

 

Who else do you know that loves you so much?  Would anyone you know really die for you?  How about someone you didn’t know?  How about then?  Is there anyone you can think  of that would do that?  This is exactly what Jesus did.  He died ‘while we were yet sinners’ still living far from Him – wandering around and doing our own thing – getting lost and messing it up – just like sheep.

Are you in need of a Shepherd today?  Call out His name – He’ll be there in a hurry to rescue you and to lovingly embrace you with His protective arms – keeping you on a safe path.  Stay close to Him and He will watch over you with a relentless love. Always.

 

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

Roots and Wings

Several years ago – after living in our present home for 2 years – we had a major problem with our sewage pipes.  And naturally, like most any disaster – if it’s going to happen – it will be when you have company.  Our daughter’s boyfriend was here from California where he was stationed as a United States Marine.  We were happy to meet Jack and were excited that he came up here to see her for a weekend.  As soon as we picked him up from the airport and dropped by quickly at our home – they were off to a mutual friend’s church party – and left Greg and me at home to do some last-minute chores.  It was a Saturday night and I was trying to finish up some laundry and was working in my office when all of a sudden I heard a peculiar gurgling sound coming from the guest bathroom just down the hall from my office.  I got up to investigate and the gurgling noise became louder until water bubbled up from the toilet and started spilling out ALL OVER THE FLOOR at a rapid pace.  I screamed for Greg who was upstairs and he sprang into action trying to ‘plunge’ whatever had backed up in the toilet.  We could both see that it was a far worse problem then just a simple clog – the water just kept coming – spilling over onto the floor – spilling out into the hallway and making a HUGE mess EVERYWHERE!!  I had every towel I owned in the hallway to mop up the water.  We called someone to help us and thankfully we knew someone in the plumbing business.  Because this was late at night (of course) the problem did indeed have to wait until the next day – so we mopped up the mess as best we could after the water slowed down to a stop and told everyone NOT to flush ANY toilet in the house.  This was not a good weekend to have a guest!  Luckily Jack had family in the area and was not staying at our house over night.

The next day our wonderful friend (John Beck) came over and donated his time and equipment – a hose with a camera on it – to dig up and diagnose the problem in our front yard.  It was temporarily ‘fixed’ – but a week later would you believe it – the same thing happened – and back John came only this time it was a water line with the same problem – ‘roots’.  This time the WHOLE YARD had to be dug up to run a new water line – And by ‘dig up’ – yeah – well you get the picture.  It was determined that because of all the trees in our yard (we love our shady trees in the summer) we had a ‘root’ problem.  Roots were growing in not so great places – like our sewage pipes and water line – thus creating a nasty back up for the sewage line anything thicker than water.  And for the water line – the same back up and mess all over the house.  Yuck.    Roots had to be cut and our pipes were FREED!!!  Yay!

Two years ago we had the same problem.  It was an emergency of the same magnitude and our friend no longer had the equipment or was in that line of business any more – so we needed to hire someone to come.   It was REALLY EXPENSIVE and we took every precaution since then to make sure it NEVER happened again – including pouring things into the drain to dissolve the nasty roots and to discourage them from growing back.  But those roots are persistent – and it seemed that no matter what we did – they kept coming back!

So today while getting ready to go to church – Greg heard the familiar ‘gurgling’ and ‘bubbling’ sound coming from the downstairs bathroom again – and he thought, “Oh oh” – I was happily taking a shower upstairs and was oblivious to his rushing around downstairs and out the front door – taking a look at the pipes to access the backup.  As soon as I was out of the shower he informed me that he was going to have to rent something – and soon or we were going to have the same problem.  Long story short – after church we rented a snake with cutters on it to insert in the pipe and ‘cut’ the roots and clear the clog.  It worked like a charm – and was ever so much cheaper than hiring someone – like we did 2 years ago.

Roots.  What to do – what to do??  They are with us – they attach themselves to us – we cut them down – they grow back.  They are persistent.  They follow us.  And if roots are grown in the wrong place – they cause damage and clogs – and need to be cut and re-directed.

Roots in human beings are similar to those in trees.  If they are well nourished and have the right ‘direction’ shown to them – then they grow straight and strong.  Roots are the things that grow beneath the surface – the things you can’t see.  You can tell a healthy tree by its roots.  It is not so easy to see this in a person – or is it?  Is there such a thing a ‘bad roots’?  Can they hinder our growth and development?  Can our past affect us?  Prevent us from getting everything we need in this life?  Sometimes because of the ‘voices’ from the past we do not continue to reach and grow – and explore things for ourselves.  The teachings of childhood are always in our heads – good or bad.  We can actually be ‘stunted’ instead of going our own natural way.  Those ‘voices’ can clog our minds until we are not sure what we believe anymore.  Is it because we are taught that?  Is it our belief?  Can we risk believing something different – or new?

Roots – are good things – If you had loving parents and leaders/mentors in your life that spoke great things into your life and instilled beliefs and teachings to help you grow – then you were blessed. But you may not have that legacy.  You may not have had good parents that spoke great things into your life – and your ‘roots’ may be broken and bent.  Regardless of which category you fall into – it is now your responsibility to nourish your own ‘roots’ and to help them grow in a healthy way – to ‘unclog’ the  voices in your head and to clear a path for your life that does not just include the past – but that opens up a way for you to be all you can be.   Ask God today to show you the special things He has in mind for your life – He will make your path clear – as you step out in His unconditional grace.  He will give you  ‘clear’ thinking – and  help you to ‘unclog’ the tangled mess in your mind and replace it with His own sweet presence and love – flowing freely through you and bursting forth with newness, strength and health.

I believe we need to take all we can from our good parents – things they taught us – things we learned in school and what our church taught us.  But I believe it is not enough.  We need to build on that – good past or bad past – it’s up to us – it is a choice.

Be someone today with healthy roots – choose to pass that on to your children and their children.  Allow them to be who they are supposed to be – give them roots – but also give them wings.

God Bless

Shake Off The Shame

1 Timothy 1:15

15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Heard an excellent and thought-provoking message from our youth pastor Andy Douglas this morning.  “How many mistakes do you make”?  It was an honest question – and we say to ourselves – “Sure – I make many – or  “I at least make some” – or even – “I hardly ever make a mistake any more”  But the bottom line is this:  we all make them – even when we think we are too spiritual or too far above that in our every day life.  Andy went on to illustrate how when he first got his driver’s license – he made 3 big mistakes in the first hour – being pulled over by 3 different patrol cars.  He had us laughing hysterically – so FUNNY!!  And it was interesting to note – that even though he was talking about mistakes – and ultimately the grace and forgiveness for mistakes we make – I was thinking about those 3 different police officers that pulled him over that night.  They could have been ‘letter of the law’ and each given this new young driver – a ticket – but none of them did.  They gave him a friendly warning – and the last one said to him, “maybe you better go home now” – which he did.  That’s the definition of grace.

This is what God does with each one of us.  Grace by its very definition is this: not getting something we deserved.  It is not something we have earned.  We couldn’t earn it.  It is freely given to us.  And like Andy said this morning – if we cannot accept the ‘gift’ of grace and forgiveness – but instead  walk around with shame for something we have done – and live in bondage to that shame – then we cheapen the fact that Jesus was beat to a pulp and had to endure a horrific death on a cross – so that we could be free from that shame.

Do we continue to make mistakes on purpose.  I hope not.  No one usually does.  They are usually innocent at first – even starting out with great intentions.  You may have a huge heart for people and mean well by loving and embracing them – but then something happens you did not plan on.  You may love helping people – but then you get yourself in too deep and realize – “I made a mistake”  Or you may be naive and think that everyone has the best motives in your world – and then something happens – and you realize that there was another motive altogether and it blindsides you.  Every good well-meaning person makes mistakes.  Pastors and leaders make mistakes all the time.  They don’t mean to – they just do – because they are human.  It is humbling to admit you made a mistake – to ask forgiveness or to forgive someone else – when you may not always be at fault.  But there are times – when it is all your fault. That’s what God’s grace and mercy is there for.  God’s love does not condemn – but rather it renews and gives life and hope to brokenness and hopelessness – bring life from death and joy from despair.

Do we really believe this?  Sometimes.  Do we live like we do?  Not always.  I would like to think that when we make a mistake – and live through the consequences of that mistake – or someone else’s mistake – that we gain perspective and wisdom – and we rarely repeat the same one again.  Oh – we’ll continue to make mistakes – just hopefully not the one that caused so much pain and hard work to recover from.  This is what we gain.  A fresh understanding of the love of God.  A fresh knowledge of grace and mercy.  An understanding of the high cost of that grace, mercy and forgiveness – offered in an ever abundant supply from Jesus.  But so often instead of believing this – and living like this – we walk around with a heavy cloud over us – sometimes choking the joy right out of us.  And we think everyone must know what we’ve done – even though they rarely do.  It paralyzes us.  It prevents us from living a joyful life – a full life where we are able to clearly see the needs of others around us.

But if we could just grasp  concept of grace – we are changed. We no longer live under man’s scrutiny or insinuations – we no longer feel condemnation – and we no longer let what others think of us – rule our emotions and feelings.  We are free – and we understand what that grace means for our lives – because we can agree with Paul in the scripture above – that Christ Jesus came to save sinners, and like Paul we say – …’of which we are the worst’.

If this is true of your life today – you can shake off that feeling of shame and brokenness – forever.  It is only by embracing and accepting the love of Jesus and His covering over those mistakes in your life – that you can really be free.  Free from yourself.  Free from the weight of carrying years of guilt and shame.  Free from the lies that you cannot be forgiven – that you can’t be productive – that God won’t use you anymore because of what you’ve done.  Accept His love and forgiveness today – don’t wait.  Don’t spend another day carrying around this burden on your chest.  He is waiting for you.  Let’s ‘shake off the shame’.

I am praying for you

God Bless

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