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Archive for the ‘Scripture’ Category

A New Kind Of Peace… (Repost)

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Image by Griffin Matthews via Flickr

From my blog 2 years ago – August 31, 2009

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

Do you ever feel troubled?  Unsettled.  You don’t know why.  You just do.  I believe that we all feel this way from time to time.  A deep peace comes from God.  And from knowing God.  If He says – “don’t be afraid” then you can trust in His words.  And He gives peace “not as the world would give” but a lasting deep peace that comes from another place entirely than any outward circumstances.  You see “peace” from the world may mean no struggle in finances – no strife in the office or at home – seemingly peaceful situations that could “lull” you to sleep – or even keep you “off your guard”.  No trouble sometimes can be a precursor to a “wake up” call.  And a peace “from the world” may be the wrong kind of comfort – a temporary “feel good” moment not based in reality and may be just an illusion.

I believe that the peace Jesus talks about here is an eternal peace even in the midst of pain, hurt or confusion.  Or even just a topsy turvy schedule where our world seems out of whack.  The knowing that we have peace and security – despite the things going on around us.  Trusting in something you can’t see.  The invisible arms that reach for you – supporting you through some of the toughest days of your life.  Peace that has no explanation in the natural.  No reason for being there.  And yet it is.

I know that I cannot explain God’s peace in my life.  But I do know that it was there in great supply for me – in some of my darkest hours wrestling with pain and hurt.  I just knew it would be okay.  I would be okay.  The situation  – though far from healed – is in His hands and that gives me great comfort and peace.  I can let it go – and feel good about it.  That’s real peace.

What are you carrying around today that you need to have some peace?  What do you need to let go of?  Do you trust in another kind of peace to sustain you – the wrong kind of people – and the wrong kind of circumstances that seem like the real thing?  I encourage you to let go of what would hold you back in finding God’s real peace. Ask Him to fill you with another kind of peace – another kind of meaning to your life that’s real and lasting.

Do it now.  Do it today.

I am praying for you

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

Fear Of Failure

Thoroughbred racing at Churchill Downs.

Image via Wikipedia

Heard an excellent message this morning from our pastor – “How to deal with Failure”.

I jotted down some thoughts while I was listening:

We have all failed.

We can let that failure make us better – or keep us bitter.

God uses failure in our lives to prepare us for better things.

It can be Fear of Failure that keeps us back and holds us down.

 

A few days ago my husband and I went to see ‘Secretariat‘.  And yes I am actually old enough to remember watching him race  in those ‘triple crown’ races in 1972-73.  It brought back many memories for me – and was thrilling to hearing the back story.  The film also had a common theme today with our pastor’s message.  Failure. The owner of that magnificent race horse – had experienced failure and set-backs.  She could have given in to defeat and even what she knew about the horse’s genetics – but she refused to give in to either.  She knew that horse was a winner and so against all odds – she believed and that belief empowered her.  Instead of being afraid – she pushed on – and Secretariat is still known today as the greatest race horse that ever lived – no race horse has come close to beating his record in 37 years.

When I heard the message today – I was reminded of that horse.  And of the horse’s owner, Penny.  She was completely convinced that her horse was the best – even though the horse had lost a race at first and others told her – to give up.  She stared failure in the face and didn’t bat an eye.  At a great financial gamble – she believed and made the investors believe too.

How much I would love to be like this.  Just because I know something is true – how often do I really believe it and act on it?  Stare fear in the face and not bat an eye?  Take my power back?  Not care about the whispers and humiliation set against me?  Push on past my own reputation and pride?  Get back up after failing and be changed and transformed through the experience? And most of all – see the blessing in it?

It’s hard.  I have failed.  I am just now seeing the blessing in that failure.  But at the time – I thought it would be what would take me down and steal my joy, my testimony and my walk.  And although I am no champion – like Secretariat and numerous others that have had set-back and failures that are far more high-profile than I – I would have to say that it is because of that failure and my response to it – that I am where I am today. I found God’s grace in the midst of pain and hurt.  I might never have discovered first hand how much He loves and forgives if it hadn’t been for my failure.  I might never have discovered how much my husband really loves and believes in me – or how many true friendships I have – how much they have my back and love me beyond my many mistakes.

The key is our response – not the fear of failure.  To fall down and be broken before our God –  but then to get back up. To allow that failure to create something gracious inside of us that sees past the shortcomings and failures of other people.   To allow grace, mercy, humility and love to be our close friends when dealing with other people.  And to release that champion in our hearts that just wants to run – free – just like that race horse.

Here is a beautiful passage of scripture from the Message Bible.  When I was listening to my friend lead worship on a youtube video – she quoted a portion of this Psalm and it is so fitting when speaking about failure.

Psalm 51

1-3Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.

4-6 You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.

16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!

 

May you find that this new week  steeped in ‘chaos’ – is actually a ‘Genesis’ week – a new beginning – rich with possibilities and newness.  And no fear of failure.

 

God Bless

A Touch Of Fall

I took a walk today.  And I took my camera along – just in case.  I came upon a park close to our home – my favorite trees line the street.  I can always tell what season we are in when looking at those trees.

A little red leaf trickled down from a branch and on the sidewalk in front of me while I was walking by – and I thought to myself, ‘what a journey you have taken, my friend’.  Yet – undaunted – it fell to the ground.  That was his job – he had begun, sprouted, blossomed – turned a beautiful color and then broke loose and died.  No disguises – no hiding.  A leaf is just a leaf.

Are we like trees?  Can people tell by looking at us – what season we are in?  Can they tell who we are?  Do we show it on our faces – our posture – is it evident in the sound of our voice – do we give ourselves away?  Have we sprouted?  Blossomed?  Turned a beautiful color that is evident to all those around us?  Or do we hide – like some well seasoned actor with lines to learn – and a disguise that suits us?

William Shakespeare once wrote these words in his play, “As you like it”:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” — Jaques (Act II, Scene VII, lines 139-166)

Are we well rehearsed?  Do we ever give our true selves away?  Are we merely great actors – destined to hide behind a mask – or the internet so that no one really knows us – or confronts us?  Or are we willing to let people in – and really see us?

Are we graceful and strong down to our roots – even in the ‘fall’ and ‘winter’ of our lives.  Are we unmoved by changes that come and go?  Are we most beautiful when we have gone through much pain and endurance – as we surrender to the ‘winter’?  I believe that much beauty is produced in our lives during those tough times – when we have been stripped bare of any pride – when the ‘real us’ emerges.  I myself have struggled in this area – resisting with everything in me.  Wanting to run and hide when hurt comes and threatens to swallow me – wanting to ‘fake it’ and paint on a sunny smile – hoping to fool those around me.  But I also believe spring always comes – I believe that God allows me to go through seasons – I believe that He protects me down to my roots – shaping me and giving life from the inside out. Even when it is most uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Psalms 1 says this:

1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

What kind of tree are you?  One that will blow away with the wind – not deep enough to withstand pain, hurt, stress, disappointment and failure?  Or are you one who is deeply rooted – clinging to life and embracing the different seasons as an opportunity for growth and depth?  I pray you are the later – and that you will find your strength and courage in God to lead your through and bring the beauty out in your life today.

God Bless

2nd Chapter Of Acts

This is my very favorite “2nd chapter of Acts” song!  I’m so glad I found this recorded version from their album – you can hear the great harmonies much better than a live concert.  When I hear this song – I am in junior high school again – and I can remember right where I was when first hearing this amazing song.  I hope that it will bring back pleasant memories for you too – when you hear it – and for those of you that have never heard them – you’re in for a rare treat!

Enjoy and God Bless!

I’ve been told that there are those
Who will learn how to fly
And I’ve been told that there are those
Who will never die
And I’ve been told that there are stars
That will never lose their shine
And that there is a Morning Star
Who knows my mind

So why should I worry?
Why should I fret?
‘Cause I’ve got a Mansion Builder
Who ain’t through with me yet

(Repeat)

And I’ve been told that there’s a
Crystal lake in the sky
And every tear from my eyes
Are saved when I cry
And I’ve been told there’ll come a time
When the sun will cease to shine
And that there is a Morning Star
Who knows my mind

Love Anyway

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:11,12

The above verse ought to stir us  – and at a deeper level – convict us.  It is one of those verses in the Bible that we gloss over quickly – but if we’re really honest – we aren’t really good at demonstrating it – at least most of the time.

I would love to think that His love is always shining out through me to others – and yet I am more convinced of my weaknesses than ever before – and any puffed up pride that I had before – is now gone.  I know what the real story is – and the things that go on inside my head that no one can see. I know I do not always love.  I even know that sometimes I don’t feel that others deserve it – especially those that have hurt me in some way.  I may be really good at hiding it – years of practice etc. – but I know the real story.

What does it really mean to love one another?  It is a demonstration of unselfish, no hidden agenda, unguarded and unsung love.  Putting aside the many layers of the “walls” I have put up around myself – so others will not abuse me – will not hurt me again – will not take me for granted – will not devalue me.  And few people are really capable of this kind of love.

In the movie “Field of Dreams” there is a famous line – the main character builds a baseball field out of his acres of corn on his farm in Iowa – not asking any questions – just knowing he’s compelled to do it – then finally when his frustration and selfish nature take over toward the end of the story he asks the all important question: “what’s in it for me”?  I have felt like this many times – as I know you have too.  Sometimes we are just called to “love” with nothing in return – because it’s the right thing to do – because it is proof positive that God resides in us – and that He is doing His best work through us.  And what a great example of self sacrificing love – we couldn’t ask for a better role model of “perfect” love.  And because we are forgiven and loved much – we in turn need to respond and love our brother.

Easy to do?  Sometimes.  When our brother is kind and loving back.  What happens when he (or she) is not?  What happens when they are just plain ugly to me – hurtful and spiteful?  Surely the Lord would understand my frustration with them and let me off the hook, right?  Wrong.  It then becomes an act of my will to love them properly and completely – like He loved and still loves me.

Sometimes I think I get it.  Sometimes I can see the good inside of someone who has hurt me – see beyond the ugly – look beyond the pain and still see them.  Oh it hurts to love them – and you talk about risk?  Ouch – it hurts my heart – and I want to protect my heart – don’t you?  But to truly love as God would have me love – is the right thing to do and even though it hurts me so much – it also “betters” me.  I become soft and pliable.  I feel God smile.  I feel Him whisper – “you finally get it”.  That is the pay off – the answer to the question “what’s in it for me”?  And I don’t know about you – but having my heavenly Father proud and happy with me – means more to me than human approval – and man’s attempts at “pumping me up”.  The simple things to confound the wise.  Simple truths.  Keeping it real.  Walking in Love.

Have an awesome day – as you too learn to really love the way God intended.  With nothing in it for you.  Just because it’s the right thing to do.

God Bless

You Don’t Always Get What You Want

You don’t always get what you want – but you get what you need

The Rolling Stones

This scripture below is my son’s favorite scripture verse – he loves it in the NIV but I love the Message Bible:

Ephesians 3:20 (Message Bible)

20-21God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

I love this passage because it is a gentle reminder of God’s nature – at work in and through our lives.

Just like a child who requests a special gift for a Christmas present from his parents – so we often make our requests known to God.  Only with us – we are so limited in our thinking – seeing and perspective on life that we don’t always know what to ask for.  Luckily, for our sake – we don’t always get what we want – or what we think we want.  But we DO get what we need.

Ever have a reminder of a past event in your life?  An event that you thought at the time was the end of the world?  A lost relationship, job or situation?  And like a child – you cried and begged God to fix it – heal it – or turn it around?  Only to find out weeks, months or years later that it was the best thing NOT to have had your way?  The great lyricist, Cindy Morgan – said in one of her songs, “heartaches are often blessings in disguise”.  How true this is.  But we DON’T often see it that way at the time.  We need perspective and space away from the event to determine this in our own hearts and lives.

No we don’t always get what we want.  We can fuss and fume – rant and rave – cry, scream and stomp our feet – even have accusatory arguments with God and still…we don’t always get what we want.  But here is a guarantee that you can take to the bank:  You will always get what you need.

And part of that guarantee is that not only will we get what we need – but far above that – far above what we could even ask or dream for ourselves.  Because He made us – knows us – is concerned about the daily concerns of our daily existence – we know for sure that He has something very wonderful planned for us – to surprise us – much like a parent will surprise their child with a special gift the child was not even asking for or expecting!  “Our wildest dreams”.

What are your wildest dreams?  Do you still have them?  Have you stopped dreaming?  Do you hesitate to ask God anything good for your life – because of past disappointments?  Because, maybe – you didn’t get what you wanted?  And you failed to see the “bigger picture” of what you needed instead?

I love that God works gently in and through us – doing a deep work within us. Working to give us – not only what we need – but to far surpass our wildest expectations!

Dream BIG – Live with great expectation – Dare to ask far above and beyond – allow Him to do that deep work in your life – to produce in you the ability to see beyond your “wants” – to just satisfy the temporary.  Ask Him for a vision of your life – as He sees you – and wants to bless you.  Make 2010 a year of victory – and no regrets.

Do it.  Do it today.

God Bless

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