Come

My music choices were very diverse when I was 13-16 and still are. I was influenced by my brothers, Top 40, choir music, band music, Casey Kasem, as well as a number of other people. But I am always drawn to guy singers and I love acoustic guitar.

I don’t remember who introduced me to John Michael Talbot but here he is and I would encourage you to explore his music. It is very meditative and simple. It is awesome for times of personal worship.

Come to the Quiet

I don’t know about you and your situation as we deal with all the complications this virus brings. But this time does beckon me to sit at the feet of Jesus and think and pray for a few things.

Let’s pray for the grocery store workers and the truckers and the warehouse people who are working hard to keep store shelves stocked. Here they are, on the front lines of this epidemic. Because we are all so much more dependent on everyone else for our food, they are our lifeline to nutrients. When you see them, say “thank you” or “we appreciate you”. They are putting their lives on the line every day.

Egypt

I don’t know who first introduced me to Keith Green, but I was pretty young, probably about 14 years old or so, when I first heard his music. It was the first time I really realized that God can use your personality and creativity for fun and music — it wasn’t all organs, stained glass windows, and liturgy.

And that was when I realized that God could use me as me. Of course, He has grown and shaped me in and through my life and experiences and He continues to do that for me. But the me who is me — my interests and personality and abilities — are a part of what He can use to reach others with His love, forgiveness, and grace.

In this time of restricted activities, I am thankful the opportunity to pray and fill my mind with good things is permitted! Have you been missing opportunities for Bible Study? There are some amazing options out there! And churches are working on offering sermons and Bible studies. And, believe it or not, we might miss church and gathering together but God’s Word is still the base of what we need. When it comes right down to it, the gathering is nice but The Word is what is essential! Find ways to surround yourself with God’s Word and use this time to dig deeper and discover more about His love and grace — how it applies to you and how it can be shared with others!

There are a lot of great, thoughtful, and meditative songs by Keith so be sure to check his stuff out on YouTube, but, three super fun but deep songs are linked here — LISTEN TO THE WORDS!

So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt

He’ll Take Care of the Rest

No One Believes in Me Anymore (Satan’s Boast)

Has God blessed you through a certain musician on musical group? I would love to know one of your favorite songs performed by your favorite artist!

Today, let’s pray for those who are bringing God’s Word in new ways to those who are desperate for some Good News! Hopefully, you are one of those people! ~ Liz

Jesus

Music soothes my heart and soul and Fernando Ortega always hits the spot. Of course, he is singing about Jesus and that is the main reason this song is amazing. If you need some Jesus in your playlist, I encourage you to look into Fernando.

And, quite honestly, we all need Jesus in our playlist.

How are you doing during these days of social distancing? We are taking it pretty seriously at our house. We are doing our part to minimize the spread of this crazy virus. I hope you are too!

I do think restrictions and downtime allow for more creative expression. Otherwise, people are just busy running to and fro. It has been great to see so much creativity and generosity showing up in my Facebook feed. This is the time when Facebook can really shine. And what a crazy situation that is bringing the whole world together even though we have to be very separate. What a dichotomy!

Today, let’s lift up in prayer those who are in the medical field and facing this virus every day. Pray they are able to thoroughly clean themselves before they enter their home so they don’t spread the virus. Pray the supply of medical supplies matches the needs. Pray for the researchers — that the world of researchers finds the solution.

For the time being, I will move to PrayerPoints every day instead of just once a week. And I will share some amazing songs by amazing artists each day so we can start the day with some perspective!

God’s peace to you today!

Back to Basics

I was just getting into a decent rhythm but it has been shaken up a bit with this incredible health crisis. How about you? However, I am extraordinarily appreciative of the downtime but I still feel a bit scattered.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

I find it very hard to focus on things at the moment. Our two youngest are staying with us which helps provide entertainment and distraction. They are funny people. But I need to come up with a temporary routine as we shelter-in-place in Indiana.

I do love how the world is coming together to share resources — from penguins walking around zoos so people can see the animals to illustrators giving video lessons to read alouds through the libraries. Churches who have not moved to the digital age are stepping out there and learning new things for their members. People are giving what they can in new ways! Let’s embrace and share those good things!

As for me, I am not full of fear but I am full of unknowns. I am waiting it out — all of it! Times are interesting, that is for sure.

Step away from the news. Hunker down in your homes. Cook new things. Try your hand at creating. Check in with the people you love!

And pray without ceasing…..

Afraid or Concerned?

I am not afraid of the coronavirus but I am very concerned about how people are behaving. But then I have to remind myself they are living in fear and that is what makes people behave irrationally.

What can I do?

Right now, there are many things I cannot do. But I am going to focus on the things I can do to help calm the rising tide of fear.

I can pray.

I can listen to others.

I can share with others.

I can encourage others.

I can do what I can to keep myself healthy.

I can wash my hands with soap and water.

I can use this opportunity to share why I am at peace.

I can thank God for this opportunity to regroup and reprioritize.

I can love on my friends and family.

Thank you, Jesus!

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Blessed

I was pondering Psalm 32 today. Below is the New International Version. If you have the time, just look at one section at a time and think it over and let it soak in.

As usual, my mind is all over the place when I read something as vivid as this Psalm. The metaphors and similes are amazing — David, the author, felt the same things I feel today.

But it is important that feelings aren’t the top dog here. Feelings can be important. And they are real but they aren’t always really accurate. I might not feel blessed, but I am. And there may be days that I don’t feel loved, but I am.

I do think an important key is in the third section: Keeping silent slowly destroys us from the inside out. But confession is so good for us and restores our relationship with God.

Confession is always a good thing, but particularly as we contemplate during this season of Lent.

Psalm 32

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
    your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
    while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
    will not reach them.
You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.

 Many are the woes of the wicked,
    but the Lord’s unfailing love
    surrounds the one who trusts in him.

Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
    sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Clarity

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever is a movie I have not seen, but I know the phrase and, interestingly, it has crossed my mind during my travels.

It rings true.

But sometimes things aren’t so clear. And this isn’t just about vision. Sometimes there are times in life where things are unclear — and the only thing we are able to do is pray and do the next right thing.

To every dull and clouded sense
The clearness of Your light dispense.

All of my senses can be dull and clouded. This affects what I hear, taste, smell, and touch. Recent research suggests there are actually seven physical senses, check this out.

Most often, I am not able to see much further than the day I am in. And, truly, who of us can? Life changes so quickly sometimes. We need to hold our plans loosely. While we can plan and prepare, there are no guarantees. But seeking God’s perspective always helps me bring clarity to a situation.

Have you been at a crossroad and looking for clarity? You might be tempted to do nothing, but that is a decision in itself. Do the next right thing, find a friend or counselor to process with, and ask God to make your path clear.

Thank you, Lord for Your Love and Light in my life. Bring clarity to my days, but, most importantly, grow my trust in You. Amen.

I know I used this hymn before but I loved that line so I just had to revisit it! There is a lot to think over with this hymn!

From God the Father, Virgin-born

From God the Father, virgin-born
To us the only Son came down;
By death the font to consecrate,
The faithful to regenerate.

Beginning from His home on high,
In human flesh He came to die;
Creation by His death restored,
And shed new joys of life abroad.

Glide on, O glorious Sun, and bring
The gift of healing on Your wing;
To every dull and clouded sense
The clearness of Your light dispense.

Abide with us, O Lord, we pray;
The gloom of darkness chase away;
Your work of healing, Lord, begin,
And take away the stain of sin.

Lord, once You came to earth’s domain
And, we believe, shall come again;
Be with us on the battlefield,
From ev’ry harm Your people shield.

To You, O Lord, all glory be
For this Your blest epiphany;
To God, whom all His hosts adore,
And Holy Spirit evermore.

Translated by John Mason Neale, 1818-66

All that is not holy

“In your hearts enthrone him; there let him subdue all that is not holy, all that is not true…”

All that is not holy….my goodness. My heart can produce some unholy stuff. Sometimes I wonder where this funk is coming from and it surprises even me. The thoughts I think, the words I say…..Lord, please subdue those things that should not see the light of day.

I have found when I am particularly depleted either physically, emotionally, or spiritually, I am a candidate for needing all kinds unholy stuff subdued. There is a direct correlation. The further I am wandering away or not being fed from The Source, the easier it is for me to digress into some unholy ugliness.

The solution? Stay closely tethered to my Maker!

Lord, keep me close to you and subdue all that is unholy and untrue. Amen

At the Name of Jesus

At the name of Jesus ev’ry knee shall bow,
ev’ry tongue confess him King of glory now.
‘Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call him Lord,
who from the beginning was the mighty Word.

At his voice creation sprang at once to sight,
all the angel faces, all the hosts of light,
thrones and dominations, stars upon their way,
all the heav’nly orders in their great array.

Humbled for a season to receive a name
from the lips of sinners unto whom he came,
faithfully he bore it spotless to the last,
brought it back victorious, when from death he passed.

In your hearts enthrone him; there let him subdue
all that is not holy, all that is not true;
crown him as your Captain in temptation’s hour:
let his will enfold you in its light and pow’r.

Brothers, this Lord Jesus shall return again,
with his Father’s glory, with his angel train;
for all wreaths of empire meet upon his brow,
and our hearts confess him King of glory now.

Author: Caroline Marie Noel 1817-1877

The Stain of Sin

I have been sinning since the beginning of my time. I still sin. It is a part of my human condition but I have been working on my stuff. I can say “I am sorry”. I can ask for forgiveness. I can work on not sinning, and yet, I still sin. I know God forgives me for the large and small sins and wipes it clean away but, in this world, the stain of sin can remain, for a lifetime.

And that can be a lifetime of me being needled by satan. He loves to try to condemn, particularly those who have been forgiven. The devil wants to wrestle away my peace that passes all human understanding and convince me that I am stained and unusable, that His healing work can’t possibly work through this mess.

This mess of me.

But God can and He does. He can do it for you too! Lord, let me focus on Your work of healing. Let me trust You to work on the stains of my sin. I know you see me through the beauty and perfection of Jesus, but sometimes the world can see my stains and I feel condemned all over again!

Thank you for your gift of Jesus and His sacrifice on my behalf! Amen.

From God the Father, virgin-born

From God the Father, virgin-born
To us the only Son came down;
By death the font to consecrate,
The faithful to regenerate.

Beginning from His home on high,
In human flesh He came to die;
Creation by His death restored,
And shed new joys of life abroad.

Glide on, O glorious Sun, and bring
The gift of healing on Your wing;
To eve’ry dull and clouded sense
The clearness of Your light dispense.

Abide with us, O Lord, we pray;
The gloom of darkness chase away;
Your work of healing, Lord, begin,
And take away the stain of sin.

Lord, once You came to earth’s domain
And, we believe, shall come again;
Be with us on the battlefield,
From ev’ry harm Your people shield.

To You, O Lord, all glory be
For this Your blest epiphany;
To God, whom all His hosts adore,
And Holy Spirit evermore.

Translated by John Mason Neale, 1818-66

O Morning Star

Promised One.

Since Creation, God had been making and fulfilling promises. But this is the big one.

Jesus is the Promised One.

What I love about how God works is that if I take the time to look back and analyze my life, I can see times of interjection and moments of clarity where I knew in my heart that God was showing me Jesus and His grace. Yes, Jesus came for the world. But He also came for me.

That treasured Promised One was promised for me.

Countless promises have fulfilled in Scripture. Surely someone somewhere has analyzed how many things God promised and fulfilled. God delivers. Even when I don’t have the eyes to see it, I have the words of The Bible to read. I can see promises fulfilled throughout the generations. I love the big picture, I do. But when it comes to a God who knew Moses and those other giants of the faith. The One who created the world and sent a Savior. The God who has been there for me and redeemed my life from the pit. That is where it gets personal.

These promises are for me.

God has the same end goal for each of us but how He is able to bring it about all depends on softened hearts and a willingness to be led by Him. Are my heart and ears are attuned to Him? Am I able to discern His voice from the clamouring of the others? The path of life isn’t always easy. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and fearful and I kick and scream. He holds me anyway and He waits for me.

Thank you for fulfilling Your promises to the generations. And thank you for keeping your promises to me. Thank you for The Promised One. Amen.

O Morning Star, how clear and bright,
your beam shines forth in truth and light!
My Sovereign meek and lowly!
O Root of Jesse, Promised One,
my God and Ruler, you have won
my heart to serve you solely!
You are holy,
great and glorious, all-victorious,
Rich in blessing,
rule and might o’er all possessing.

Come heavenly Brightness, Light divine,
and deep within my heart now shine,
there make yourself an altar!
Fill me with joy and strength to be
your member, joined eternally 
in love that cannot falter;
Longing for you
does possess me; turn and bless me;
Here in sadness
eye and heart long for your gladness. *

*Philipp Nicolai (1556 – 1608)