I Search For You Lord (Psalm 63)

In reading Psalm 63 this morning these words kept going around in my spirit and then I remembered a song called, “We search for You”. I hope you enjoy this music this morning because when we praise the Lord in song that is all our lips can do at that moment and our soul begins to be comforted.

Psalm 63:1

O God, you are my God

earnestly I seek you;

my soul thirsts for you,

my body longs for you

in a dry and weary land

where there is no water.  

Enjoy the music and worship him!  Here is your link:   We search For You

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“Broken Women, God’s Grace” -A Day for Poetry

This Friday I will have a guest post on Melinda Todd’s blog, “Trailing After God“. I hope you will stop by Melinda’s blog and catch a read as well as  Melinda’s writings which are very real.  I have been very blessed to be introduced to The LeadHer organization which connects Christian Women’s  blogs. You really need to check their webpage and Facebook page.

Today I thought I would post a poem  I wrote almost 20 years ago after spending a weekend  retreat with the women in my then Sunday School class. This was a class of women only–some married–some not. What  they all had in common was they were either married to a spouse who did not or would not attend church with them or they had been single for quite sometime praying for God’s choice for them.

This retreat was a chance for me to get to know these women who had opened up their arms to me with much love. The evening program would consist of testimonials and when I heard some of them I saw how God had taken them from the deep pits of tragic painful lives to women who were seeking God with all their hearts–including myself.  After I got home from that weekend I was compelled to write this poem.

God’s Grace

As I looked around the room at the many faces

I caught a glimpse of God’s many graces.

The events in their lives they all would tell

might sound like a movie made in hell.

It did not matter if they were young or old

they all shared some pain in their lives as told

But how could they sit there and laugh

in spite of life’s hard knocks and awful bites?

The love of Jesus was in that place

You could see His hands upon their face

The love of Jesus had created a tie

That all these  women could not deny

For it matters not how many the years

And it matters not how many the tears

 God’s love enabled these women to survive

For it’s by His grace they are alive

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Asking Why Again?

It seems that we are experiencing more and more natural catastrophes in our land or as better known– “acts of God”.  When I researched these three words, “acts of God” the definition was –a legal term for events outside of human control, such as sudden floods
or other natural disasters, for which no one can be held responsible.  My heart breaks for all those whose lives have been forever altered from earthquakes and tornadoes or whatever their storm in life may be at this time.

Each time something like this happens I am immediately reminded of how Job reacted to his storm versus how his counselors assumed to know “the whys” of his storm. (Job) Those who counseled Job were operating under a spiritual arrogance which caused them to think they knew “why” God was allowing Job to suffer.–He must have sinned thought they.  Probably one of the best things I’ve ever had spoken to me by another Christian was, “Don’t speak for God! out of what may be your own reasonong.”  This was a moment of revelation to me. Who was I to assume I could tell myself or anyone else “the why” of the storm?  But by humbling myself before the Lord  and acknowledging His sovereignty no matter how hard to understand,  I  could console myself or others that His mercies are new every morning.  As we minister to those who have lost their family members and all their worldly possessions and possibly their health let us hope and pray that they will see the cross of Jesus Christ before them in the aid they receive and it will come out of the humbleness of those serving the one true God, Jehovah Jireh, the provider. We are His hands and His feet to those too weary and broken  to lift their hands or step forward.  Yes, the sovereignty of God is one of those mysteries we can’t understand and in the verse below we are reminded of it.

Isaiah 55:8-9.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,and your ways are not My ways.”This is the Lord’s declaration.9“For as heaven is higher than earth,so My ways are higher than your ways,and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Lord, give us “your” words to speak in humility to those in need– those who are brokenhearted. Help us not to get stuck on the why but enable us to walk with total and true compassion.  May we glorify you in word and deed and as ambassadors of your Son, Jesus Christ.  In Jesus name. Amen

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Too Much Love? (Romans 5:8)

But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

This week has been all awhirl over the extermination of Osama Bin Laden. I am not one to get into politics and all the second guessing that comes with it but I was truly blessed by a simple change of channels from secular TV to christian TV a few days ago and I still can’t seem to keep from going back to it over and over.  Just by being impressed to change the channel I received a blessing.

There was a former Muslim who had converted to Christianity 22 years ago and he was talking about the miracle and wonder of his salvation.  As he sat there talking with two gentlemen about things in the Muslim world and so forth he began to cry and he made this statement:

     “God has too much love to be able to wait to forgive us after we die.”

     You have to take into consideration his accent and his English but those words pierced my spirit and I felt a leap of joy within me.  I said to myself, “Wow,  22 years ago he was drawn by the Holy Spirit and by believing with his heart and confessing Jesus Christ as Lord (Rom 10:9-10) he can now state these words with so much power that even this Christian of almost 20 years is stirred and humbled in the spirit. I just had to sit here kind of frozen in time pondering his words. When this man understood that he did not have to earn his way to Heaven (Ephes 2:8) and how much God loved him it changed his whole life and I’m sure many others he knows who believed the way he once did. This is the power of God unto salvation.  (Rom 1:16)

     Some may read this and say this is kind of elementary but some, like me, will realize once again the power of the living Word  (Jesus) of God who was sent to earth to die on a cross for our sins.

Father God, I thank you for my salvation. I thank you for loving me while I was yet a sinner and feeling totally unloved and unlovable.  Your Word is profound yet simple so that you can draw “all” men to yourself as you desire that none shall perish. (2 Peter 3:9) Thank you for your enormous love for “all” the world.  In Jesus Name I pray.  Amen

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My Soul Longs for You (Psalm 63)

 Psalm 63

A psalm of David,When he was in the Desert of Judah.

You  God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  (NIV)

This morning I was drawn to Psalm 63:1. The one thing I love about God’s word is that it is “living word”–it speaks life to us!!  What kind of life does it speak?   It comforts us. It strengthens us. It gives us wisdom and directs our footsteps.  It lets us know that we are not alone in our struggles as well as our successes.  In a world that is dry and parched and longing for all the things that will not satisfy the thirst of the soul we as children of God can come to the Word of God to quench our thirst at any moment in time but do we? I must confess that I don’t always because there’s that defeated mentality that tries to overrule my soul and I fight a battle with it everyday. It kind of makes me laugh a little because I know where victory is so why do I let defeat win?  Why does anyone let defeat win?  I don’t pretend to have the answer to that and maybe the answer isn’t really important. What is important is that I continue to long for Him. I long for His wisdom, His comfort, His solace and His ways–not my ways.

Lord, in Matthew 6:33 we “hear” Jesus saying,   “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you also.”  Today I just want to tell you Lord that I determine to seek you first.  When defeat raises its ugly head I will seek you. Before self-pity steps in I will seek you. I will seek you-I will seek you-I will seek you  in the name of Jesus.  Amen

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Another Season of Letting Go

JOB 38:37-38

Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? 

       Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens  when the dust becomes hard
       and the clods of earth stick together?

Job 38:37-38

My favorite time of the year has always been October. Growing up in the mountain areas of Pennsylvania we enjoyed a beautiful show of colors for several weeks every Fall. There was this mountain ridge we could see from the road we always took to the grocery store and back. I remember sitting in back of my parents car and just observing the beauty.  I knew it could not happen by accident even as a child. I could imagine the “giver of life” painting his masterpiece on the easel of earth.  Such splendour!  At the top of this mountain ridge was a giant cross that was lit up at night and as a child and even to this day I always look forward to once again seeing the trees and the cross in the Fall.  Something about it just put me in a peaceful state.  

     However, I don’t know about you but there is always a great sadness in me when all the leaves are gone and Winter is peaking through. You look around one day and all the trees are bare.  The trees have to have faith, Lord willing,  that they will be fruitful with new leaves returning in the Spring.  They trust God  as they stand bare through another Winter.  Like us they have to let go and let God.   As I am sitting here this morning looking at the beautiful blue sky and the leaves floating down from the trees I realize that I too must let go of things that I’ve allowed to hang  on me.  It’s not always an easy thing  to do but just as God tells the trees to let go he tells us also to let go.  I think the trees are probably more obedient than I am but it seems to be the season of my life to do just that–obediently let go.

Thank you Father that you are so patient with us even when we stubbornly hold on to things that we know we should shed. Show us Lord how we can mimic the trees and let go of things that are holding us back in this current season of life whether it be  unforgiveness, anger, envy,, poor self-esteem, and the many  other things that our flesh desires to hang on to.?   Shake these things off of us Lord in this season so we may spring forth in the Spring of 2011. We trust you and only you first. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

If you would like to visit some more Word Filled Wednesday posts it is being hosted at Internet Cafe Devotions  where you may click through to add your Linky or just enjoy the others. 

 

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“Between A Rock and a Grace Place” Interview with Author Carol Kent

I am honored to host  an interview with Carol Kent where she talks about her latest book “Between A Rock and a Grace Place”.  The Kent’s   journey these last ten years  since their son was sentenced to life in prison of course has been a painful one. They have had to face something that no parent would think they could be capable of facing but in this “hard place” they have been able to see grace abound.  I could identify with the “hard place” the Kent’s have been in since this tragedy because I have a precious friend who also has a Son in prison for life and I have often times wondered how she could handle anymore but that is when grace steps in and carries her through those times as it has with the Kents. Mrs. Kent not only shares her journey thus far in this grace place but gives accounts of others who have made it through their life challenges with the grace of God carrying them. The interview follows:     

What are “grace places,” and how can hurting people in need find them?

All of us experience tight spots when life turns out differently from our dream. When we face the overwhelming obstacles of life, we can experience the last thing we ever expect—the sweet spot of grace. Grace places have a variety of forms, but some include:

  • Receiving love when we don’t deserve it
  • Finding safety in the middle of a fearful and uncertain experience
  • Being comforted by friends and family (people who are extensions of God’s love)
  • Experiencing the embrace of God when we have run out of strength and courage

“Grace means the free, unmerited, unexpected love of God, and all the benefits, delights, and comforts which flow from it.” (R.P.C. Hanson)

How important are contentment and gratitude in finding grace and peace?

My son, Jason, is teaching me that I need to choose contentment and thanksgiving in all things. As an inmate in a maximum-security prison, all of his personal items must fit in one small one-foot-high and one-and a half-feet-deep and two-and-a half feet long steel lockbox. He has learned to live comfortably with very little, which brings him a surprising sense of peace.

When I was visiting him one weekend I asked how he holds on to hope in the middle of a life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentence. He said, “Mom, I have a gratitude list. Whenever the clouds of depression try to discouragement, I get out a piece of paper and write down everything I have to be thankful for. I’m thankful I have two parents who will be my advocates for as long as they live. The average number of years a lifer gets visits is five years and then no one comes anymore. I’m also thankful I can be a missionary on a compound that houses up to 1,700 men.” I’m learning from Jason that I find contentment when I choose to be thankful and when I invest my time in helping other people.

How has your definition of adventure changed over the years, and why is it important to retain adventure in your life, despite your situation?

True adventure is seeing the potential of living for things that matter in the middle of your current circumstances. We had the adventure of launching a nonprofit organization that helps to empower our son to facilitate classes by having books and DVD teaching series sent to the prison. We also have the adventure of reaching out to other people who are in crisis, which brings purpose and deep meaning to our lives.

What advice do you have for those who are stuck between a rock and a grace place?

In the middle of your own hurt reach out to someone else who needs help worse than you do. When you involve yourself in meeting the needs of others, you discover an unexpected freedom on the inside. Corrie ten Boom once said, “What did you do today that only a Christian would have done?”

As a result of your journey, you and your husband have founded the nonprofit organization Speak Up for Hope. What are the goals of the organization, and how can people get involved?

Our vision: To help inmates and their families adjust to their new normal.

Our mission: We exist to provide hope to inmates and their families through encouragement and resources.

Please go to http://www.speakupforhope.org for a list of practical ways individuals, churches, and organizations can help with specific projects. Our goal is to live out the truth of Prov. 31:8-9: “Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice. Stand up for the poor and destitute!”

Where may we connect with you further or to purchase a copy of Between a Rock and a Grace Place?

I would love for you to visit my web site at www.CarolKent.org, browse through the various events and other resources available. You may also join me on my Facebook page, please click here.

About the Author

Carol Kent is the bestselling author of When I Lay My Isaac Down and A New Kind of Normal. Carol is an expert on public speaking, writing, and on encouraging people to hold on to hope when life’s circumstances turn out differently from their dreams. She lives in Florida with her husband Gene.

For an opportunity to participate in a book giveaway visit:   http://www.facebook.com/CSSVBT.CarolKent.BetweenaRockandaGracePlace  and http://christianspeakerservices1.wordpress.com/blog/

A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by Zondervan in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com for more information about blog tour management services.

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