Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Plea

Lord teach me to walk with the bold confidence which only comes from trusting you completely, that I may not stumble or falter in the path you have laid before me.

Train me to know your Word as well as I can draw breath into my lungs. 

Show me how to love others with the ease of a smile and the grip of a hug. 

Grow me as a plant that has roots running deep and near streams of living water that my blossoms of life may be fragrant and my branches may be fruitful.

Challenge me to daily discipline and training, that I may step ever closer to the goal and finish line you have set before me.

Let me find you every day in a new way, that I may always be joyful in the new discoveries of who You are.

Turn the light of understanding on when I am feeling swallowed in dark confusion, that the darkness would scatter and the knowledge of your wisdom and presence might embrace me.

Drive into my remembrance the testimonies of saints around me, that I would be able to rejoice not only in Your growth in my life, but in the way you have brought others into True Life as well. 

As I pour out my thoughts, keep them. As I lay down my fears, relinquish them. As I confess my dreams, take hold of them. 

You are my Teacher, my Trainer, my Revealer, my Strengthener, my Light, my Lord. 

A Melody in My Heart

If you've spent any time with me, looking at my Facebook, or talked to me at all recently, you will have heard about a recent trip I took to a Scottish island called Lewis...where, among other things, I was introduced to Psalm Singing. The church I enjoyed fellowship and communion with use metrical versions of the psalms to sing them in their services. For all my friends back home who are looking askance at your computer screen right's worshiping the Lord alone, with His Word alone, using the God-given instrument of our voices alone. It was such a blessing to sing God's word with other believers and revelatory to think about how easy it is to hide God's word in your heart through song.

Coming home, I continued to dwell on the idea of singing Psalms and the beauty and importance of that. As the Spirit would have it, in a recent bible study at Calvary Church, we were going through a short series on what worship is (that's an entirely different blog for an entirely different day). However, that evening, we were discussing worship specifically through song (side note, did you know that the Hebrew word for 'singer' and 'singers' is mentioned 37 times...and only once translated in the singular form? Chew on that for a bit...)

What really stood out to me was when we talked about the word "psalm" and it's meaning. Did you know it translates into the english simply as "melody"? Blue Letter Bible tells me that it's root word comes from the verb "zamar" which means "to sing" or "make music" (Insert the caustic "duh!" moment here).

Well, you might have known or guessed that, but this particular evening it was like a light switched on for me. It really got me thinking about how there are times in my life that I am led to pour out my heart to the Lord but, like David and the other psalmists (poets? song writers?), sometimes just journaling facts doesn't rightly express what my heart is wanting to say. Sometimes (especially for those artsy dreamers out there like me), a poem or a song is calling to burst forth.

These are the psalms of our hearts.

These are the words that the Lord has given us to praise Him in a very personal way. These are the melodies that Ephesians speaks of when Paul exhorts us to "be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, - Ephesians 5:18b-20 NKJV

The Psalms in the bible are songs that overflowed from these men, led by the Spirit, and ordained to be kept and canonised that we might be able to glean from them thousands of years later.

I know that His Word was given to us that we might learn from it, grow from it, be complete in it as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

His Word is also meant to be hidden in our hearts as Psalm 119:11 says: "Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You."

I know that singing the Psalms of the bible will be beneficial for recalling His promises and exhortations for me. It will draw me closer to Him in a binding and beautiful way. Reading His word daily will do the same.

These things will also be adding to the well springing up inside of me that, as a believer, I cannot keep from overflowing. His word will dwell in me and I pray that He would use that well to overflow into psalms of my heart.

That I might make a joyful noise to His glory.

A melody for my Lord.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Peter and John

Something I've been thinking about from last Sunday's Easter message:
"Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed." - John 20:2-8 NKJV

John was the fast one. In my limited study of him, I see him as quick to ask questions, quick to understand meaning, witty with his words (in my opinion), and as the verse above states...he arrived at the tomb first. We can learn a lot from John. We can learn that listening and being astute is a favourable thing. We can see that the Lord used him in these ways. We can recognize that these gifts he was blessed with was utilised by the Lord. 

We can also see how his cerebral approach was met with less action. Less “doing”. Less falling flat on his face, but experiencing redemption and grace. And we can glean from and learn from that.
But then, there's Peter. He was the bold/daring one. He got out of the boat, swore his allegiance without a backward glance, preached at Pentecost, and as we read above, he went into the tomb first. We can learn a lot from him, too. We can learn that sometimes it takes a really big trip up to bring us closer to God. We can learn that when we step out in faith, the Lord will be there as we call out to Him. We can see that sometimes the bold one has more bruises, but also has more passion and experience. 

Both are great examples of faith for us. Both are great men of the New Testament. Both have their faults and admirations. 

If you’re anything like me, you look at John and find comfort in how he pays attention. How he chooses to ask questions...and think before he acts. How he sticks close to Jesus, close to the comfort zone, and exercises his faith with his words. 

But then you look at Peter and are in awe at how many times he “screwed up” and yet the Lord still used him. You see how many times the Lord had to rebuke him, help him, explain something to him, exhort him…and yet he was used in amazing ways by the Lord! You see how he truly understands grace and mercy...and receives true Agape Love.

Who do you relate with? Who do you wish you were more like? 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Do you remember...

When He spoke so clear into your heart, mending the broken pieces and giving you that promise of a long-gone year? Yet you questioned and asked again. 

Do you remember...

When He answered you a second…third…fourth time? Affirming His call. Responding to your doubt. Healing the wounds and restoring your hope. 

Do you remember…

The day He called you to rise up for the first time? The day He gently guided you to take that first step towards a journey that would alter your life forever and spoil you for mundane reality. 

Do you remember…

The day he called you His love, His fair one?

Do you remember...

That bold and terrible walk along the precipice of fear? One step among another, shaky yet determined. A heart that trusts with a mind that questions can often lead to a body doing what it doesn’t want to do, and yet is unable to turn back. 

Do you remember…

The bridge that meant so much more than a fear of the tangible? The bridge that called to be crossed. The chasm between faithlessness and bold trust. And the family of Christ-followers who were there, smiling, cheering, and  encouraging you. The ones who are still here, by your side. Lifting up, exhorting, praying, and coming alongside you. 

Do you remember…

When He called you to come away? When He called you His beloved? With the promise of His presence, you stepped from the recognisable into His arms. You made it. 

And then you left. Forgot. Went home and thanked Him and told everyone about His love for you and for everyone around you. But you turned back to the mundane. Something was off. 

Do you remember…

Knowing that there was something else? Not quite able to lay to rest the longing and wonder, but comfortable in your life that you weren’t ready to start seeking and searching for it. 

Do you remember…

You held your breath and plunged forward? You explained away discontent with fodder like “His will” and “Living for today”. But you knew, didn’t you? Somewhere deep down, you knew that He was raising you up…and out…and you ignored it until He wrapped you in His arms again, lifted you away from the greyscale life, and spoke those words. 

Do you remember…

When He once again brought you from winter to spring? When He called to you from the clefts of the rock.

Do you remember…

When He finally said “GO!” and it didn’t mean what it did before? It meant LEAVE. It meant remove. It meant take a step in the direction that He was pointing and don’t look back. Only take a deep breathe and trust. 

Do you remember…

The windy country road that was your first experience living in the new? The beauty of the landscape, but the tumult that was inside you. The excitement, wonder, pain, and confusion. The change and the consistent. The confidence and the hesitancy. 

Do you remember…

The bridge that brought the fear back? The one that took your breath away…and your ability to move. The shaky legs and shortness of breath. The one that once again called to be crossed. To journey with Him again from the unknown into His will. 

Do you remember…

What you found on the other side? What you are continually finding? 

Oh, please remember. 

Recall it as with Ebenezer. Lock it in your heart and write it in your memory. Tell it to as many people that they would be able to share it with you when your memory becomes grey. 

Oh, please remember. 

You are new and whole. You are revived and refreshed. You are loved and beloved. You are made in His image and He has renewed your soul. 

Oh, please remember. 

The good and the bad. Set it in your heart and your mind. Because if you don’t remember, I won’t remember. If you don’t recall, I won’t recall. For you are me; and we are being made perfect in His image. 

Oh, please remember. 

My beloved spoke, and said to me: 
"Rise up, my love, my fair one, 
And come away. 
For lo, the winter is past, 
The rain is over and gone. 
The flowers appear on the earth; 
The time of singing has come, 
And the voice of the turtledove 
Is heard in our land. 
The fig tree puts forth her green figs, 
And the vines with the tender grapes 
Give a good smell. 
Rise up, my love, my fair one, 
And come away! 
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, 
In the secret places of the cliff, 
Let me see your face, 
Let me hear your voice; 
For your voice is sweet, 
And your face is lovely." 
Song of Songs 2:10-14 NKJV