Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

Beneath The Cross Of Jesus

Yesterday we sang this old traditional hymn at the closing of our morning church service.  It has been years since I have sung this – or even heard it.  The simple beauty of the words and harmonies are hard to describe.   It is a wonderful reminder in this season of Lent.

Like many of you, we are watching the mini series, “The Bible” on Sunday nights.  Yesterday we saw the dramatization of the birth of Jesus and some of his early ministry.  The calling of Peter was just as I had always pictured it to be.  A charismatic, positive and caring Jesus, a cynical, passionate and somewhat angry Peter.  It was a match made in heaven.  The scene of the calling to follow Jesus is wonderful.  Next week,  just in time for Palm Sunday and Easter weekends will be the miracles, teachings and then the betrayal and long walk to the cross.

If you are like me you have many questions.  Not that it really happened – but why it had to happen like it did.  Fully God and yet fully human, Jesus is someone whose life and appearance puzzles even the most devout critic.  Why He had to come the way He did – and save us by sending himself – we will never know.  The back story to the temptations by Satan is a deep mystery.   Why would that have even been an issue for God at all?   But it was.  And Jesus struggled with it.

I may not understand it.  But I have come to realize that God does not tell us everything about His plan 0r Himself.  We just need to take it on faith.  We are on a “need to know” basis – and apparently it is not important that we know why.  Only that it is.  And we either accept it or turn it away.  Either way it does not change it.   One thing is certain.  I am a hot mess by myself and need a Savior.  And God knew that even before I was born.  A plan was made for me before I even knew about it.   And I accept this gift and am very thankful.

Enjoy this wonderful version of “Beneath The Cross of Jesus” that I found on youtube sung by a college choir.  You may remember it from years ago – or you may have never heard it before.  Either way you will love it.  My prayer for you today is that you too will just accept that there are things that you will never understand – but admit that you too need a Savior to save you from yourself.  You will find Him if you truly want to be found.  He will change your life in so many ways – if you will open up and let Him in to it.

God Bless

Text: Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1830-1869
Music: Frederick C. Maker, 1844-1927
Tune: ST. CHRISTOPHER, Meter: 76.86.86.86

1. Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land;
a home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat,
and the burden of the day.

2. Upon that cross of Jesus
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One
who suffered there for me;
and from my stricken heart with tears
two wonders I confess:
the wonders of redeeming love
and my unworthiness.

3. I take, O cross, thy shadow
for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
the sunshine of his face;
content to let the world go by,
to know no gain nor loss,
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all the cross.

Anniversary Week

31 years ago tomorrow I walked down the aisle at 20 years old to say “I do” to Greg. One of my favorite memories from that crazy day is the song that Greg and his two brothers sang to me, “What a difference you’ve made in my life”. I found a version by B.J. Thomas – and although it is not the same as the karaoke version we used back in 1981 it is still a fun memory to hear it played today.

Marriage has its ups and downs and we certainly are not a perfect couple by any means. We are flawed human beings who have done our best to stay current and adaptable to any and all situations that life has thrown at us. There were misunderstandings and people who have come and gone in our lives. There have been weaknesses and shortcomings in both of us, but they have also been the glue and bonding that have become a key element in keeping our marriage, love and friendship alive.

I have changed much since I was 20. I’ve discovered things about myself I didn’t know or couldn’t reveal when I was younger.  I’ve experienced things along the journey that made me stronger and made me want to be a better person.  And there have been those that have planted seeds of freedom and courage in me.  Some of those people are still with me today – but most are not.  The one thing that has stayed constant is my relationship with Greg.  He has stood by me and truly been a best friend.  He has allowed me to grow and express myself.  He has given me wings to do the things I feel called to do.

Humor and laughter have remained a constant thing in our marriage.  We have always laughed and still laugh many times a day.  We have found a new-found communication in the last 4 years or so and we talk about things for hours now, instead of just brushing them aside.  We have favorite programs we like to watch in the evening – and we love to walk and talk.  We share a love for coffee and puppies.  And we both agree that our two “children” are the best looking, brightest and most adorable – EVER!

Our solid foundation has been a faith and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  This has kept us strong and in tough times has given us strength to make the right choices and do the right thing.  And we have found that God’s grace renews everyday – is fresh every morning.  So glad for this!

We look forward to 31 more years together.  Still doing life together and enjoying each new day.  Supporting and encouraging each other’s strengths – but standing by the weaknesses.  Being true to our vows and believing the best in each other – always.

God Bless

Blog Sharing Friday – Ladies Only

The two women friends are shocked at a third w...

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I have some AWESOME women I want to share with you this week.

1) Marni Arnold of Relevant Brokenness is someone I have connected with on twitter, google+ and mostly on both our blog sites.  I love Marni’s articles and her great testimony of faith in Jesus Christ and what brought her there.  I had the honor of doing a guest spot a few months back on her blog (the article is at the bottom of this article) and she is generous to share her site with others who have something to contribute and share with others.  She is one of the nicest and most generous people I have met online – always the encourager.

2) Laura Miles of In The Midst is the mom of David Miles, a personal friend and former staff associate of ours – while my husband and I were on staff at New Life Church in Renton, Washington.  I have never met Laura in person – but have been loving her blog, first introduced to me by David several months ago on his blog – where he featured her.  Laura is down to earth and very honest in her approach to life, her relationship with Jesus and her struggles as well.  I feel like we are kindred spirits and it is always fun to have her comments on my articles.

3)  Diana Savage of Hope For Wounded Christians is someone I have had the privilege of knowing for 15 years.  Diana served on staff as well at New Life Church when my husband was on staff.  She is a gifted author and communicator.  She has survived tragedy and heartache in her own life and has become a beautiful and strong woman of God – encouraging others to find ‘hope’ in Jesus Christ.  Her blog has many wonderful nuggets of truth and encouragement from the word of God – as she shares her journey with others.  Diana is also one of the nicest and most beautiful human beings I know, very humble and unassuming in person.

4)  Heather Murdock of heathersfaith is another kindred spirit whom I got to know first on twitter and then our blog sites.  She writes with beautiful clarity – has a testimony to tell of God’s amazing grace and even shares her incredible gift of love and encouragement on a local Christian TV program in the city where she lives.  I have caught a few of these programs, as she interviews others with testimonies of what God is doing in their lives – and she is straightforward, interested and caring.  Heather is also very beautiful inside and out and I know people are just drawn to her.

 

I encourage you to check out each of these blogs sites – I know you will be blessed and encouraged by them – just as I have been.

 

God Bless

To Tell The Truth

The Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law on a mo...

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Our pastor spoke on the subject of “Truth” on Sunday.  It is part of his series on “The Ten Commandments”.  Each has been thought-provoking and has made every one of us look at these commandments in a different light.

Our small group wrestled with this subject of “truth”  last night – as we revisited the message from Sunday.

Truth is very subjective.  We each have a unique way of looking at events – past and present.  We have a way of justifying our own view-point – and even twisting facts to present ourselves in a better light.  All of us our self-centered to the core – and it’s only through the grace and love of Jesus that we have any hope at all.  Outside of Him – we mess it up pretty badly.

What is truth?

The only truth we know is the person of Jesus Christ – who is Himself the embodiment of truth – the living Word of God. Apart from Him we are destined to get it only partially right – struggling with ourselves and others until we die.

People have been wrestling with the subject of truth since the Garden of Eden.  And the enemy has been trying to twist the truth so that even we start to doubt what God really said – and what He really meant when He said it.  We twist truth just enough to justify our actions. We all do it.  And though Satan is the “Father of lies” – we need to realize something about our own nature – we lie and don’t always tell the whole truth – even when we believe we have.  And sometimes we cannot point our finger and blame him.  We don’t need to look any further than our own self for the real blame. We want something – so we twist truth to get it.  We don’t want to be blamed for something that we had a part in – so we point a finger at another person or at Satan and deflect any blame off of us.  That kind of deceit is not lost on God – He knows what the score is – even if other people are fooled – even if we have even successfully fooled ourselves.

The difference between our truth and the truth of God – is that our truth can be self-centered and twisted – God’s truth is always redemptive and without agenda.

I want it.  I will lie to get it.  I will call it truth.  I am in denial.

The Word Of God sets up boundaries for us.  If we stay within the protection of those boundaries – we live a life of truth and safety.  When we step outside of God’s protection – He will not stop us – in fact He will let us do it – it’s just not the best for us – and the fall-out is enormous and does not bring lasting peace and happiness.

Truth.  What is truth?

Bill Cosby was quoted as saying, “The only time children tell the truth is when they are in pain”  They lie to get what they want – they are just not as clever as we are.  But we all do this.  When in pain – and we are forced to “come clean” with the truth   it looks a lot differently than what we had lied to ourselves about.  And sometimes saying and speaking the truth is lonely and misunderstood.  It’s not always comfortable.  In fact it’s down right miserable at times.  Simple truth is like that.  And some people get it and some don’t.

Jesus knew this.  There were those in His time that did not get it either.  Truth was way too threatening for them.  And they had Him killed because of it.

Can we always tell the truth?  Even if it hurts to say it?  Even if we know if might split apart a relationship?  Even if it will cause repercussions among family and friends?  Do I strive to live in truth?  To say only the things that are redemptive and good?  To live a life of honor and transparency?  Not always.  I’ve blown it – just like you.  But I want to model my life after Christ’s example – and it’s a start to come clean with what the truth really is – and not be satisfied with “half-truths” and “gossip” about others just to make myself appear better.

But striving to Live in truth is the only way to live.  And some day I hope to arrive there.

God Bless

Below enjoy a song from John Mayer “Say what you need to say” – one of my favorites – follow the link to “Watch this on youtube”

Dark Night Of The Soul

“There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

Corrie Ten Boom

I love the movie, ‘The Hiding Place‘ – where the above quote comes from. Corrie Ten Boom was a survivor of the Holocaust – and saw unspeakable things while she and her older sister, both of them women in their 50’s were held prisoner by the Germans. Her sister never lost her faith during that time in the concentration camps – believed, hoped and encouraged others not to become bitter – not to hate. She became ill and died at the hands of the ones who had been so cruel. It was after Corrie was released from prison – due to a clerical error – that she was able to see God‘s purpose and plan for her life – even in that ‘pit’. And she became an ambassador for Christ and His great love and provision for her – to countless millions of people around the world. If anyone knew about the ‘dark night of the soul‘ – it was this lady.

We have all experienced this – a situation that makes us evaluate our lives – and challenges everything we believe in. Most of us have never been in a situation or circumstance like Corrie Ten Boom – but we all have suffered our own degrees of sadness, depression, hurt, frustration, loss and helplessness. We all have longed for peace from strife – knowledge from endless questions and release from hurt and pain.

I’m so glad that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ – and I know for sure there is no place so dark – that His light cannot be seen – no place so deep, that He is not deeper still. I know because I’ve experienced it. I know because I have a story to tell of God’s great love and faithfulness – his hand of protection – and his grace and mercy to me – during a dark time.

Even in those times that seemed so hopeless to me – with no answers – I was not alone.

And I’m thankful that although I didn’t and still don’t understand everything about those hard places that I’ve had to experience – I’ve come to realize that I learned the most valuable lessons in those dark times. In the dark I was finally able to see things I would not have seen while the light shined so bright.

I am told that in a total eclipse of the sun – what is discovered while the sun’s brightness is covered up – is the deadly and dangerous corona which surrounds it and is usually invisible. In the same way there are dangers in my life that can be covered up in the light and are much clearer in a ‘dark’ painful time – where my senses and awareness are heightened. They are sharper and clearer during that time.  And I am forced to see them.  Giving me true courage to face what I must – turn away things from my life that are not healthy and give me final resolve.  As I battle in the dark – I learn much about myself and others who have been there – and sadly those who haven’t.  And I discover that it is in fact,  not the end.

Total Solar eclipse 1999 in France. * Addition...

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And like you – I’m still learning. I’m learning that the ‘dark night of the soul’ – is not the end of the world. It’s the place where fear of the unknown and true surrender come together. It is the place where giving up and temptation meet with resignation and strength.

It is a place where I begin:

Letting go – and giving in.

Losing everything I hold

Waving goodbye – and saying hello

Realizing false strength – and true weakness

Gaining much-needed perspective

Being engulfed by heaviness that I cannot lift

And sadness I can taste

A testing of my strength and will – and looking for any light

This, my friends – is the ‘dark night of the soul’.  It is surrender.

If you are having a season like this – it’s okay. It will not last forever. And although you may not ever get the answers you need – your heart will one day find the resignation – to the questions. And you will not always feel sad – or hopeless. This dark night may turn out to be your greatest testimony.  And your finest moment if you will allow the Savior in.  You will find Him ready to meet with you there.  And when you look back – you will realize that He carried you.   And your faith will never be the same.   Someday, you will be able to help someone else – because you will know and understand.

I found a beautiful song by Kate Campbell. If you are experiencing that ‘dark night of the soul’ or have recently experienced it – this song is for you.

God Bless

What I’m Most Thankful For

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I’ve been seeing status updates all month-long, on facebook – saying what people are thankful for.  I’ve even seen longs lists in various places by others, stating what they are thankful for.  But it was not until I saw my friend David put up such a complete and heartfelt list on his blog – that it really made me want to reflect on those things in which I am most thankful for.  And here they are – in no particular order:

 

1.  I am thankful for the love of a good man  (He’s loved me for 30 years – amazing)

2. I am thankful for my children who are young adults now with lives of their own – and who are finding their way and who both have a strong faith in God – and a great friendship with me and their Dad.

3. I am thankful for the opportunity to use my gifts everyday in music and I LOVE my students so much.

4. I am thankful for good friendships – both past and present and what I have learned from both – but especially the ones who stayed – you are the roots in my life.

5. I am thankful for Christian parents

6. I am thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ – that started at a very young age.

7. I am thankful for a discovery about myself that allowed me to be free to express myself without fear

8. I am thankful for like-minded believers at my church family – and especially my pastor Stephen and his wife Mandy.

9. I am thankful for Starbucks coffee

10. I am thankful for a fireplace in the winter

11. I am thankful for an outdoor grill in the summer

12. I am thankful for laughter – the daily medicine

13. I am thankful for facebook and my blog site to connect and reconnect with people from all over the world

14. I am thankful for Skype – so that I can see and hear my friends

15. I am thankful for my DVR that records programs I can’t see right now

16. I am thankful for my big screen TV for watching holiday movies and specials.

17. I am thankful for new facebook and blogging buddies – who have found a way of expressing ourselves that is quite unique to us.

18. I am thankful for a warm bed – with adjustable frame so I can sit up in bed and read or watch TV.

19. I am thankful that my husband still brings me a first cup of coffee in bed – after all these years.

20.  I am thankful for all my readers.  We are in a unique world of the written word – and if you have found  yourself here – you know a little more about me than most folks – because this is where I live and express myself.

 

God Bless

Come To Jesus

Guatemala: handsy Jesus

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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

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