Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Religion & Spirituality’

Mercy Says No

Last night we watched a wonderful story on forgiveness.  It was on Oprah’s new program, “Where are they now”.  Many years ago a brutally raped woman accused and put the wrong man in prison for this crime, due to a mistake on her part.  He had to be in prison for eleven years.

The story was unreal.  Can you even imagine being falsely accused by someone because you happen to look like the real criminal?  It seems horrific.  And yet this story has a powerful ending.  The man was released when DNA tests proved he was not guilty.  When the women found out her mistake she set about to rectify it.  She asked this man face to face if he could ever find it in his power to forgive her.  What he said to her next was so wonderful.  He told her, “I forgave you years ago – I had to let go of the poison of hate in my body so I could continue to live”.

As I watched the two of them who appeared on the Oprah show many years ago telling their story, and then an update to right now – their story did not end there.  They are close friends involved in each others lives today.  Their easy give and take is so genuine.  Truly love and forgiveness of even the most unspeakable things that people do to us CAN win out every time.  But that decision is up to us.

I have heard of people who were able to forgive their children or spouses murderers.  Stories of grace and God-given mercy.  It has to be God – in ourselves we are just not equipped to handle the emotions on our own.  We want revenge and for someone to pay.  But mercy says no.

Love Hope, Grace, Mercy, and Faith

Love Hope, Grace, Mercy, and Faith (Photo credit: nme421)

I think about what I deserve.  It is death.  It is wrath.   And I need to be reminded that if it were not for the grace of God I would be lost.  Because of that undeserved and unearned favor from God – and what he did to save me – I am free.  Freed by love.  Freed by something I could never repay.  Because of that example of total reckless abandon and outpouring – I can love and forgive others.  Oh it doesn’t come naturally to me.  In fact I don’t want to even talk to anyone who has hurt me – let alone invite them back into my life and live as if nothing has happened.  It is against my natural tendencies.  But because of God’s great love for me, I can take baby steps toward understanding this incredible kind of love.  I can take baby steps in showing grace – and in showing mercy.

I have a few people like this in my world.  Where it is an act of my will to just let it go.
I know that God will take care of them in the end.  But it is hard to
wait for that day that seems so very far away.  Where is the justice???  I don’t want to show mercy and grace.  I want them to pay and know how they have hurt me.  It is not a pretty picture.

When was the last time you had an encounter with the unlovely side of yourself?  The side that turns away, runs from conflict and those that have deeply hurt you?  Or the side of you that DEMANDS payment?  When was the last time you had an opportunity to show grace?  They didn’t deserve it.  They never will.  They deserved your wrath and exploding anger.  But you were able to dig deeper and lean on God’s great arm of forgiveness and understanding.  And instead of making them pay – you were able to let it go.  You found the strength to say, ‘mercy says no’.

My prayer for all of us today is that we can find that place to ‘let it go’.  I pray that you will come to that place where you practice the forgiveness that frees and releases.  I pray that you will continue to prosper even as your soul prospers, living happy, healthy and full of grace and mercy.

 

Faithful

English: Image for BBVA EAGLEs article

Image via Wikipedia

 

My puppy puts me to shame

She is loyal

Faithful

She will not leave my side

even in the early morning when she’s hungry

She waits for me

to have my devotions

and coffee

and to fully

get up

and put my slippers on

even though it takes me

several minutes

to finally go downstairs

She does not get upset

or anxious

she trusts

and waits

 

How faithful am I?

How patient?

Can I wait?

Do I run ahead?

Anticipate?

Set my own course?

Am I willing to wait

on God

for the things

He says I must?

Can I sit

and  quietly contemplate

drink in

calm my scattered mind

and just

be faithful?

I’m tired

and need strength

I complain

fuss and fume

I need

to relax

stop the spinning

sit back

and wait.

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. 
   They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired, 
   they walk and don’t lag behind.  Isaiah 40:31  Message Bible

What about you?  Feeling weary?  Need some fresh strength today?  I know a source of strength that will not only renew – but help you to soar like an eagle.  Imagine running and not getting tired, walking and not lagging behind?

Yes – I think I can – I know I can – Lord help me to...wait.

God Bless

God Speaking

This is such a cool picture! A visual reminder of God’s Love – expressed through His creation. Okay – so it’s maybe a coincidence and not a planned “heart” in the sky, but I like to think those little “coincidences” are gentle and visual reminders – like an unexpected gift for no reason at all.  Nothing planned or organized – nothing brilliantly orchestrated by any of our efforts – it just appears and suddenly our day is just a little brighter.

Ever been driving down the road, you’re having a bad day – and then suddenly something comes on the radio – just for you?  Or you look up at a billboard or sign on the side of the road that has just the right phrase in it – like a sign from the heavens?

Sometimes those little “coincidences” aren’t really “coincidences” at all.  They may be God speaking.

I have a student learning the following song by Mandisa called, “God Speaking” – it is powerful and really makes you thing.  I just had to post it for you today – I know someone can greatly benefit from this and be encouraged today.

When was the last time you just knew God was using an extra ordinary thing in your day to speak to you?

God Bless

My Truth

A father and his daughter, 1923

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been watching the reality show about Ryan and Tatum O’Neil on the OWN station – the tumultuous father and daughter relationship resulting in a separation and silence for the past 25 years.  They both agreed it was time to put the past behind them and try to begin again to rebuild their lost relationship – through this series on cable.

It has been very interesting and heartbreaking at the same time.  To get a glimpse into someone’s pain is never easy – to feel hope for them as they talk and uncover much of their difficulties – and why things went so bad for them.  Through counseling, alone and together, they are getting to the deep issues which caused their separation in the first place.

But what I’ve noticed is this:  We all have our own truth.  It is ours.  

Truth cannot be negotiated or argued.  It is different for everyone.  It is something that we believe about ourselves, others and our situation.

In having my truth – I am not saying that you do not have yours as well – but my truth – is my truth.  It is my version of the story – it is what I believe in my heart of hearts.

We do damage to ourselves and others when we try to rewrite their truth for them.

When two people have different “truths” – and will not validate the other for having their own unique truth – there can be no settling of accounts – no matter how much counseling they have.  And at the end of the day – their personal truth will be all they have.

I really believe with all my heart – that all people just want to be recognized and validated for having their own truth.  No matter how weird it may sound.  Even if you think you know better and think they are ALL MESSED UP.  We want someone to say to us, “I understand.  I get how you could feel that way.  I see you”  So often we never get that response that we are seeking.

All Ryan needs from his daughter, Tatum is this:  “I see you Dad – I’m just as much to blame as you are”  And Tatum needs to hear Ryan say, “I take ownership in my part of our separation.  I made many mistakes and I’m sorry you felt abandoned”  Isn’t it too bad – they will probably never be able to really say those things to each other – too much history – too much blame – too much sadness.

I am glad to know this:   The only solid place for me to go when regarding the “truth” is Jesus. The Bible tells me that He IS the Truth and the Life.  And with so many personal “truths” out there – varying with every person on the planet – He is the only constant who never changes.  I can run to Him – feel that acknowledgment and validation from the source – the creator – who holds My past with all of its regret – the present with all of its unanswered questions – and the future with all of its secrets, not yet revealed to us.  When others shun, devalue and withhold from us – He is there holding out loving arms of truth to me.

Do you allow others to have their personal truth?  Do you feel validated from others?  Have you acknowledged Jesus to be the only real truth in your life?

God Bless

What’s Making Your Noise?

Animated noise

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday our youth pastor, Jeremy spoke on a passage of scripture in Ephesians 3.  It is the prayer of blessing.  But it wasn’t so much that prayer that we have all heard a million times in our lives that stood out to me – it was what he said about paying attention to God that made me sit up and take notice.  He talked about things in our lives getting the most attention – the things that are maybe not the most important – but that which make the most  noise.

So I ask you this – as I ponder this same question for myself.  What is creating the most “noise” in your life right now?

Does God allow the “noise” to see if you’re really paying attention to what is important?

Do you still hear Him in the midst of all that “noise”?

What does your “noise” sound like?  Do you spend your time trying to quiet the noise and “put out tiny fires” instead of really concentrating and centering down to the quiet still small voice in your heart?

 

God Bless

My Hiding Place…

hiding

Image by Susan NYC via Flickr

The following is an article I posted 2 years ago this monthI was still trying to make sense out of a situation that still makes no sense 2 years later – and at that time I was still thinking that it would.  Instead – 2 years later I now know that time isn’t always an accurate measurement of understanding – nor is it a rite of passage.  It is simply a journey we all must take – and what we do with the lessons along the way determines our joy or sorrow for the future.  If you are like me and have had setbacks in your life – or things happen that you did not fully understand – have ever questioned God or felt like you didn’t deserve things that transpired at the hand of another – then you will know what I felt like when I wrote this article.  My prayer is that it will bless and encourage your heart today. 
Have you ever felt like you needed a “Hiding Place”? 
What event in your past changed the way you look at life now?
 Habakkuk 3:19
The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.”
 
When I read the above scripture – I was moved.  I am a musician and have the heart and soul of an artist.  I am also told I am a “sanguine” deep and emotional – and while I can be the life of the party, I prefer being alone or being with a close friend – am very sentimental and easily wounded and sensitive.   I have always understood that I view the world a little differently than others do.  I am an “audio” learner – and even more – my friend John recently corrected me – I am a “kinesthetic” learner – which means I not only hear the music – but I get inside of it and breathe it in – and wrap it around me like a blanket and it becomes a part of me.
So the psalms and other scriptures about music and musicians really speak to me.  David was also a musician and I love the poetic way in which he writes – and many of the psalms were set to music back then – and even today we are still doing this.  There is something about the “artist” who is able to put the right spin on words to express and communicate a thought and paint a beautiful picture.  David really felt what he wrote and expressed – was deeply hurt, moved and lived life to the fullest.  I can appreciate his take on his journey through good and bad times – how he cried out to God and how sometimes he was just lost and didn’t know if God really heard – or cared.  I believe that even though he sometimes didn’t understand – he had a habit of going to God and pouring his heart out.  He knew where his safe “hiding place” was – away from the world of betrayal and hurt – away from his enemies who tried to destroy him – away from the prying eyes of those who would later come to judge him for his sin.
I have found a safe place in God’s presence – it is a place where I go to regain my sanity amidst a world gone mad – friends who are not friends anymore – and those who would judge my heart without knowing my heart.  And I find new purpose and resolve after being in this “hiding place” of mine.  And I find that I can make it after all.
Below is a beautiful music video based on a favorite Psalm of mine.  Enjoy – and allow God’s sweet spirit to penetrate into your secret “hiding place”  Allow Him to be that for you today.  He is trustworthy and dependable.  He will keep you safe.
God Bless

Do you want to be Right? Or Be Restored?

This is an article I wrote a couple of years ago and thought I would repost it today.  It is still applicable in my life today – as I am still learning and on a journey of self discovery.

Be kind to one another with a brother’s love, putting others before yourselves in honor    Romans 12:10

That is indeed the question.  Have you ever known anyone like this in your life?  As long as they’re right – and have the last word they are happy.  Well at least they feel like they’re happy.

You see “being right” does not necessarily bring closure and restoration to an unresolved issue.  It can just create a wedge between people.  I’ve had to back down on things myself over the years – even when I knew I was right.  Relationships with people in our lives are way more important than arguing over the finer points – the “he said – she said” games could go on forever – if we allow it.

Being right is an “attitude”.  And when you are in the people restoring business – you sometimes have to put this “attitude” aside.  It can blind you and cause everything from a past or present situation to have a certain “slant” – as you can only see things one way.  The right way.  Your way.

I would submit to you – that there are ALWAYS two sides to a story and situation in life.  Because people are different and rarely look at things the same way.

It comes down to this:  how much do you value relationships in your life?  Do people mean something to you – even if they mess up?  Do you say, “They hurt me – they messed up – I am so disillusioned and can’t forgive them – I know I am RIGHT”  I know I have.  Why?  Because I love to be right.  And so do you.  People hurt me – have hurt me – will continue to hurt me in the future.  What do I do with this???  Bristle and pull in – never allow anyone near me again??  Argue and argue??  Even bring in a few other people to hear my point of view – so they can tell me how right I am too?  That would be silly.  But people do this.  I have been guilty of doing this myself.  It IS easier to be right.  Way easier.   But NO.  I love people.  I have decided that I will not do this anymore.  It means holding my tongue.  It means submitting.  It means MY story may never be told.  And just how “right” I am – will never be known.  My friends are more valuable to me than being “right”.

Being restored is the right thing to do – it’s also the hardest.  Why?  Because we have to humble ourselves – admit that we are not always right.  We have to face the truth about ourselves.  We have to face the ones that hurt us.  We have to come to grips with the “eye ball – to eye ball” encounter from the one that hurt us most.  No burying it under the carpet – no running and hiding – no refusing to revisit it – but really facing it.  Accept that we are not perfect either.  Ouch!!!  Facing something head on that’s very hard – takes a real Man or Woman.

My husband just recently had to face a situation where he could have taken the position of “being right” or “being restored” and he chose the later.  He chose wisely.  And I know that God will bless his life because of this.  He is free because of it.  It’s caused us to really have great discussion.  Being right – or being restored.

Which one are you?  Do you stubbornly “hold on” to your opinion – a never ending “blame game”?  Stunted and bound up by your own “principles” and “ideals” about people?  Is being “right” more important than anything else or anyone else?  Or are you a lover of people?  Do you have grace for people in your life to “mess up”?  Do you “allow” for others to “mess up” – do you have the capacity to understand it?  Do you constantly “cite” examples of how you are so right – and they are so wrong?  Are you free of sin in your own life?  Can you honestly see things from another perspective?  Reach and restore – forgive and don’t care who’s right or wrong?  Can you put your own feelings aside – and prefer other people?  Are you Christ like?  Do you just ooze with love and mercy.  Are your friends that important to you?

Jesus is the great “restorer”.  He desires health and happiness for you today.  He is the only one that can truly bring people together – melt the heart – bring you to your knees and do the deep work in your life.  If you are in a “situation” now that is unresolved – ask the Lord to “melt your heart” – help you to see things another way – ask Him to help you forgive and love the ones that have hurt you so deeply.  Make that step toward reconciliation – don’t wait for them.  Believe that He has a testimony in this “situation” for you some day – health, encouragement and healing for someone else.

Be restored.  Love people.  You will be a more blessed and happier person.

In what ways would you rather be right, then be restored?  Is being right more important than having relationship with others?  Do you know anyone like this?

Praying for you today.

God Bless

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