Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Day By Day

Here's from my all-time favorite hymn!

Day By Day
Day by day and with each passing moment, Strength I find to
meet my trials here; Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.  He whose heart is kind 
beyond all measure Gives unto each day what He deems best
 Lovingly it's part of pain and pleasure, Mingling toil with peace and rest

Every day the Lord Himself is near me With a special 
mercy for each hour; All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r.  The protection of His
 Child and treasure Is a charge that on Himself He laid; "As thy 
days, thy strength shall be in measure." This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation so to trust Thy 
promises, O Lord, that I lose not faith's sweet consolation
offered me within Thy holy word.  Help me, Lord, when toil and
trouble meeting, E'er to take, as from a father's hand, One by one, 
the days, the moments fleeting, till I reach the promised land. 

How Great Is Our God?

It never ceases to amaze me how much God seems to drop opportunities into my lap.  I pulled out of activities that I felt were influencing me in the wrong direction and was feeling lonely without the peer companionship that I was used to.  Yet it seems like God wants me doing things.  First,  I get the opportunity to play for the church in the orchestra for the Easter week, even if I can only play a few of the songs.  Then God leads my friend and I to host a conference (online, from the REAL conference taking place in Colorado), my music is keeping me crazy busy.  Funny, since I had been wanting to focus more on music rather than myself :)  It seems that even when I am lonely for my peers, God  just shows me that He is my Best Friend and He will never leave me, no matter how isolated from the world I feel.

It also seems like God is slowly, yet surely, showing me that He is the One that is stealing my heart.  Every time that I make a mistake (which is quite often) He gently coaxes me back to Himself, no matter how rebellious and angry I am.
What a wonderful God we serve!  It amazes me how much God loves me, even after He sees the deepest parts of my heart, with all the sin and dirtiness there.  Especially after an extreme struggle with guilt.  I was feeling like, even though I had been forgiven, that it wasn't enough.  That I needed to do something else.  I wasn't worth the trouble of dying for.  Why did Jesus die for me? I totally don't deserve it! Why did He take the punishment that was mine?  Why does He want such a sinner as I to live in His paradise with Him?
The answer is simple:  He loves me.  He loves all the anger, bitterness, rebellion, and scars that come with me.  Yes, He let bad things happen.  Yes, I was hurt and carry scars.  Yet He allowed these things to happen so that I would love Him more, so that I would not take His great Gift of Salvation for granted.  He loves all the bad, all the good, and this love is unconditional; meaning that He'll love us NO MATTER WHAT.  I could be the most sinful person in the world, and He would love me with a love so great that He would die that terrible death all over again, just for me.  How wonderful is that? He so deserves my love and adoration.  That's the least that I can give Him.

It's my dream to serve my Creator to my utmost ability.  Even in the little things, like not snapping at younger siblings when they annoy me (yes, I need to work on that) and being a friend that never judges, being an accepting person no matter what.  I want to be the kind of person that people will love, not for me, but for Who lives inside of me.  Without Jesus, I'm worthless.  Ugly, sinful, and unlovable.  But with Jesus I'm beautiful, holy, and priceless, not because of me.  I'm only human, but because of Jesus who radiates through me.  He makes me worth something, He's the beauty (I'm not talking about physical beauty, I'm talking about beauty as a person) He makes me Holy, unblemished, without sin.  He makes me priceless because of His Spirit living inside of me.  This is who I want to be, I've got a way to go but someday, through the grace of God, I'd like it to become a reality. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

I just love this song.  It's just beautiful!  Please watch!!!

Vince Gill - Go Rest High On That Mountain

A Trip Down Memory Lane

We have recently adopted the practice of  a Sunday drive.   So after an insanely busy morning of having to get to church really early (too early),  crazy time there of running between this place and that, and having to leave early to get to an orchestra practice.  After a time at home to eat and get my thoughts together we went for our drive.   We mainly went to our old neighborhood and former favorite ice cream place.  Even though they shrunk the size of the cones :(
I have to say that remembering the "good old days" and realizing that what I thought was so large at one time, is actually rather small.  I remembered the neighborhood through the eyes of  a nine-year-old and it was a bit of a shock to see that what I thought was so beautiful and big is actually kinda worn down and small.

I have to say that I have wonderful memories of the life in that area.  I remember being so carefree and happy, absolutely no care in the world except for what 3x3 was, and just being a little girl.
Sometimes I wish that I could go back to that.  Being little and innocent.  That I wouldn't have to worry about this or that, or that I would have all the free time and laughter  that used to exist.  It seems that the older I get the bigger my problems become, the decisions get bigger, and I don't have that whole childish enthusiasm and innocent look on life.   I have such special memories of playing all day, taking care of a stray cat that was afraid of cars (we called her "Prissy")  and spending time with the other little kids on the street.   I also feel a bit sad, like I wish that things could have just stayed like that, forever.   I'm not exactly sure when everything changed.  Sometimes I feel like it never did, but that I did.  Or that it all changed and left me the same.  Maybe it's a bit of both.    I look at old scrapbooks, I see the pictures, and I feel empty, like change happened before I was ready, or maybe I'm sentimental.  I see baby pictures of myself, and I think "Wow, I can't believe that's me."
Or I see people again that I haven't seen since I was pretty young and they tell me about this or that memory, it's almost like another person's story is your own.  Like it wasn't really you that they're talking about, it was someone else.  

The biggest trial of my eight-year-old life was battling with a bunch of twelve-year-olds who thought that the clubhouse (the "clubhouse" was a few trees bent together to form a little tree hut) was not ours, but theirs.
The hardest decision was trying to figure out how I should make the mommy pencil kiss the baby pencil (yes, I created entire pencil worlds)   My biggest wish was that I would get a new bike, you see my old one had stickers all over the front.   The most disgusting thing that ever happened to me was that my parents didn't let me play with those "Barbie Dolls",   I have since thanked them.  The thing that made me cry hardest, was accidentally running my three-year-old sister over, which resulted in a skinned nose.  My best friends were two dogs.  Mutts that I loved without reserve.   I am so thankful for the childish life that I was able to lead for so long.   

Monday, March 10, 2014

Casting Crowns - "Jesus Friend of Sinners" with lyrics

How Do I Do It?

How do I do it?  I often ask myself that question.  How do I pretend to be one person and really be another?  Why do I live  a mediocre life, hiding the facts about me?  Why do I want to be in control of my own life, when giving it over to my Creator?  Why do I allow myself to justify my words and actions that are not glorifying or loving?   Am I afraid or just stubborn and rebellious?  Why am I waiting?  What does God have for me? Am I putting off my life for selfish pleasures?  What could I be doing that I'm not?  Could I be doing something more?  And if I could, what would it be?  Why do I mess up and then kill myself over it?  Is something wrong with me?  Why do I walk down the path of darkness with no light to guide me?  Why?

I have written on this blog.   I have shared thoughts.  I have told of my experiences.  Yet none of it was really me.  I was hiding.  Hiding behind the one thing that made me look good.  And I was miserable.   I could have been doing more, yet I wasn't.   I was plagued with guilt.  With anger.  And I was convinced I was unlovable.  It was wrong.  It was sad.   Yet that whole time,  Someone was watching, waiting, and gently calling.  Calling me to Himself.  I found something that I never thought existed, a love deeper than the deepest ocean, higher than the highest mountain, it reached to the furthest star in the heavens, and it was directed at me.   "I repented of my ways and you answered me."  I was lost.  And I was found.  I was hiding.  And I was sought.   I have been called, and I have rejoiced in my calling.  I have been on a journey.  Long and hard, and it will continue until the day I die.  I have found that living a life set apart to my Creator is worthwhile, is wonderful, and without want.    Why did I wait so long?  It won't be easy to settle into a new way of life, yet I'm determined to do it.  I'm slowly, yet surely, falling in love with my King.  And He will direct my paths, even if I do go through the valley of shadow and death, but I will not be afraid, for He will never forsake me.   Does this mean that I am now no fun, that I make no mistakes, that I will never cry again.  No.  I still laugh with my friend and spend time with them, though I no longer seek to make myself liked.   I still make mistakes, quite frequently,  I'm far from perfect.   I cry.  We all do.  There is nothing shameful in that,  God created tears.  He made us to feel emotions, to relieve the pain with our tears.   I pray that I may be a light in this present day, while we wait for the hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.   

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What Can We Do?

Here's some quotes from a book by Leslie Ludy (one of my favorite Christian authors):
(This is from her book Set-Apart Femininity the chapter I'm going to use is titled Sacred Claim)

"Modern Christianity goes out of it's way to convince us that the Christian life is all about us
The majority of today's Bible studies, sermons, and Christian books causes us to focus on what we are feeling, what we are needing, and what we are struggling with.  here is the publisher's description of that popular women's book Captivating.  "The message of Captivating is this:  Your heart matters more than anything else in all creation"  And what is mean by the term "your heart?" According to the author of the book,  "The heart is who we are.  The real self.  me.  My heart is me.  The real me.  your heart is you." 
So in other words,  you matter more than anything else in all creation. 
Do you matter more than the 143 million orphans around the world, starving, scared, abandoned, and alone?  Do you matter more than the millions of Latin American street children who hide in alleys and old buildings to escape the "death squads" of corrupt policemen who hunt them down for sport?  Do you natter more than the millions of elementary school-aged girls kept as slave prostitutes in South America?  Do you matter more than the millions of starving kids who live in dups and eat buzzard soup or dead dogs to survive?  Do you matter more than the countless African boys who have seen their parents killed and been forced to rape or kill to stay alive?  Do you matter more than the scores of six-year-old African girls who have been repeatedly brutalized and raped by HIV-infected men? 

While American Christians are preoccupied with healing their own inner wounds, being set free to be their true selves, and fighting to be notice and appreciated for their own unique qualities, staggering numbers of people around the world are living in such misery, squalor, and pain that we cannot even imagine. 

.... Their are 27 million slaves in the world today, which is higher than in the days of William Wilberforce or at any other time in history. 
We do not live in a world of peace and harmony.  There are urgent battles for injustice waiting to be fought.  There are countless human lives desperately waiting to be rescued.  There are millions of precious children facing unspeakable suffering.

....Most of us would be horrified at the thought of ignoring a cattle car of screaming Jews as they were hauled away to their deaths.  But we do it every single day when we turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the millions of destitute and dying who urgently need our help.  We do it when we spend all our living on self-indulgent pleasures instead of on rescuing abandoned children.  We do it when we go on luxury cruises instead of outreaches to the poor.   We do it when we have movie marathons instead of prayer vigils for the oppressed.  We do it every time we make our own comforts and happiness the priority.  We do it whenever we fall for the idea that we are the most important people in all creation. 

.....Our hearts are not the most important things in the world.  The Down syndrome boy in Mexico City who sleeps on the street and begs for ford is the most important thing in the world.  The nine-year-old girl whose virginity is auctioned off to a roomful of despicable perverts is the most important thing in the world.  The impoverished prostitute who lives in the gutter and sells her body fora fees coins a day is the most important thing in the world.   The African boy-soldier who is forced to become a killing machine at the age of ten is the most important thing in the world.
Scripture says that God is no respecter of persons.  In other words, He does not withhold the blessings of His kingdom based on our race, sex, or background (Galations 3:28)  All of us are valuable and equal in His sight.  However, there are some people who have His special favor.  There are some who are extra close to His heart.  They are the poor, the weak, and the outcast.  The ones whom the world treats as scum are the ones we are called to treat as royalty. 

....the world is absolutely flooded with those who are destitute of daily food and clothes.  About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations that's one person every three and a half seconds.  In Latin America and Africa, countless children are addicted to inhalants as a means of deadening their senses to their bodies' desperate cries for food.  in Liberia thousands of pregnant and young children pound rocks all day long on the side of a mountain and in the hot sun just to get one bowl of watery rice.   These people have a claim on your life.  They have a claim on my life.  They are a priority to Christ and therefore must become a priority to us.  If we are so preoccupied with self that we will not show the practical, life-changing, hope-giving love of Christ to them, our faith is dead."

This is sobering. What are we going to do?  We can't assume that someone is going to take care of the problem, we need to stand up.  When are we going to do so?  What is our reason for not doing so?  Why are we not doing so?  Isn't this our call in living a Christian life?  Why are we waiting?  Someday it is my goal to be able to stand before the throne of Jesus Christ and hear Him say, "Well don, my good and faithful servant, you have served me well."   How many people are going to spend an eternity in Hell if we don't do something?  How many innocent and beautiful children are going to perish if we don't do something?  This is a matter that the Lord has placed on my heart.  This is what troubles me,   if I don't do anything, who will? 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Banjo's? Anyone?

anybody out there in this vast,vast world play the banjo, know somebody who plays the banjo, has a banjo for sale, or has any priceless advice concerning the banjo?
In case you haven't figured it out, I am in the process of researching and trying to buy a banjo.   I would like to have one by the summer, but between violin expenses, birthday presents, and tithing I'm in a crunch.  On a whim I'm posting this.  If you know of anything at all, let me know!

 And I will be posting again about something much more personal when I have the time (like maybe next year, just kidding)  thank you!!!