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Sunday grace

When my days are upended, when I don’t know which way to go, when I keep asking the same questions and still don’t hear the answers, I lean on Jesus.

In life and in death, in health and in sickness, in plenty and in want, I build my hope on Jesus.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. 
I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

As seasons begin and then leave so soon, when daylight turns to darkness, there is nothing and nowhere else to turn but Jesus.

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil.

No matter what else may be offered to satisfy my hunger, only He is the Bread of life.

When other options are presented, He is the only Way and the Truth.

As grief engulfs me, obscuring my sight for the tears in my eyes, He is the Resurrection and the Life.

When the world looks scary, uncertain, out of control, when fear threatens, He is my Peace.

When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne!

My hope is built on nothing less. Jesus.

Sunday grace.

 

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

The grace of a new day, ’tis sweet. Day follows night and the world keeps on turning.

The wind blows the tall branches of naked trees, them in waiting for newness and life to rebirth.

I wait with them.

The faithfulness of God astounds me. Words on a page from One too awesome for words, speaking love in the loneliness, peace in distress, assurance in faintness, and strength in the struggle. Praise exhales as breath.

Words that aim at my heart like an arrow sent from a sure bow, my spirit latching on to eternal certainty.

Cold winds threaten and taunt me  with, “You are hopelessly lost in winter.” But the Word that spilled into fertile heart soil heart says otherwise. The promise of spring and renewal casts down the imaginations of my enemy; anticipation, faith energizes me.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday grace.

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The grey days

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The greyness of the winter days stretch long. Though I know by fact that the nights are getting shorter this time of year, it seems an act of faith to believe it.

I saw someone’s Facebook post yesterday: “Anyone needing a little sunshine?” I responded with a “like” when what I really wanted to do was shout, “YES, I need the sunshine!”

It happens each January. The festive season passes, and we are left with the winter of despair” while we longingly wait for “the spring of hope.”

I should not be bewildered that history repeats itself and seasons come and go as naturally as night turns to day. But sometimes the short winter day can feel long when the sun does not appear.

Such is life. It is the waxing and waning of delight and pleasure versus the bitter and despondency that exists in our world. Somewhat like the moon. There are nights I see it brilliantly in its fullness or as a crescent sliver. At times it disappears altogether, being a new moon or a cloudy night.

Fact says the moon and sun are both still in the sky rotating as they have since creation day when the Creator set their courses and determined their orbit. Whether I see them with my eyes or not, they remain.

There is a confident knowing of this same Creator who also sets my course and determines my days, whether they be tinged with grey or absorbed in brightness.

It is just a season. And seasons change. Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is a deep resevoir within the heart of one who knows.

I know that my Redeemer lives, just as Job knew, despite our trials and tests. We walk through our own grey days while looking for the dancing sunbeams.

As I went to the bedroom to open blinds, I saw the light blinking through. It was the sun. I pulled up the blinds and saw it there in the sky, blue hues peeking through the clouds. It lasted only about an hour before soft ashen clouds covered the horizon.

But I have seen resplendent light once again. And hope rises.

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On this Christmas Eve

If it had not been for His birth, there would be no Christmas.

Oh, there would be other holidays to acknowledge, other festivals and feast days, but no Rescuer come to save the perishing. We would be the people still walking in darkness, still trying our best to keep the law, continuing to do all the good works we could in hopes it would be enough.

It is never enough.

There would be no gifts to commemorate the wise, star-gazing travelers, no angels sitting atop tall trees, no anthems of joy, no manger scenes, no peace on earth and goodwill to men.

But the mystery of heaven did appear. Majesty and splendor encapsulated into human form. The living Word became gurgling infant. The breath of  Jehovah blew life into the dead.

So whether on not there are presents under your tree; no matter that unsolved problems weigh heavy; if anxiety threatens the atmosphere of the soul; when the future looks scary; even if family members are missing at the table;

Unto you is born a Savior who is Christ the Lord!

He gives melody to our songs. He brings peace in the storm. He offers forgiveness to the sinner and mercy to the outcast. He is hope for the hopeless, joy for the sorrowing, strength for the weak. He is life for whosoever will.

He is the One and only who gives us reason to celebrate the season of Christmas. He is the Christ, the Messiah, the Promise, the Image of the invisible God, the Fullness of the Godhead.

He is Jesus, and we have seen His glory.

Let heaven and nature sing!

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Strength will rise

Lines were drawn in the sand months ago. The games have begun; opponents faced off; and I hear in the distance, “Red Rover, Red Rover, we dare you come over.”

This side says one thing. The other side contradicts. The first side rebuts. And the air feels hotter than my outdoor thermometer indicates.

Who do I believe? When the words are conflicting, but each declares it to be the honest-to-god truth, who really is the truth teller?

Can one look polished, smile and shade the truth while reading from a telemonitor?

I wonder who we are. One nation under God? Indivisible? With liberty and justice? For all?

My mind whirls. There are choices to be made, and I must choose wisely.

In the thick of spins and commentary and promises that sound convincing and too good to be true, who is really speaking the whole truth and nothing but? I wonder.

The atmosphere is tornadic. Yet I hear a melody in my heart, coming from somewhere deep, my spirit connecting with the Spirit.

And He sings,

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won’t grow weary

You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

 

There is One truth-teller. There is One who always keeps His promises. There is One who is strong and able to do what seems impossible. There is One who gives hope to the weary, the downtrodden, the helpless, the defenseless.

He is the Everlasting God. I will lift my eyes to Him, away from the noise and fray of the crowds, so that I am not afraid of the future.

Strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord.

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Sunday grace

Oh God, help us.

There is violence in our streets. Hatred is unrestrained.

Guide us in Your truth. Teach us the way to go for in You only is salvation.

We wait for You.
Remember Your compassion and faithful love. They have existed from antiquity.
Do not remember the willful sins or our acts of rebellion and cruelty.
Remember Your faithfulness and Your goodness.

You are holy and upright, our hope when all looks hopeless.
You call to us and shows us the way out of darkness.
You lead the humble in what is right and teach us Your ways.
You show us the truth.

Please forgive our sin, for it is great.

If we acknowledge You, humbly, reverently, You will show us the way.

We are lost without You.

 Turn to us and be gracious to us, the lonely and afflicted.

When the distresses of our hearts increase, bring us Your peace.

Guard us, deliver us, for our refuge is You. We wait for You to redeem us from our despair.

We wait for You

Sunday grace.

From Psalm 25 after another news report of senseless killing.

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Joy in the morning

I had breakfast with a young woman whose mother died almost a year ago.  She has faced many “first” holidays and events in the past 11 months.  She still has a few to go.

She and I talked about our mothers, their profound influence on us, their lasting legacy that goes beyond the tangle.  It was easier for her to talk today than it was months ago when she and I first met on the mutual ground of grief and loss.

We are glad to chat about these women we called “mother.”  As we do it keeps the memories alive.  And we want to remember this special person and have others remember her also.

We want to tell those yet to be born about the fun things we did with our mothers, about holiday traditions, about lessons we were taught and how they have influenced us.

I see joy returned to this young friend of mine.  I wonder if she has fought for it the way I have when life was just plain hard and questions remained unanswered.

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In the dark, we reach for the lighted candle of hope.  Though its beam is small, it will show the way one tiny step at a time.  We endure knowing others have traveled a similar path.  And we are comforted by the greatest Someone who walks with us now and forever.

The dark night of the soul does indeed precede a sunrise.   Though the night seems long and unending, the light will come.  Day will break and the sun will shine again.

Even while we sorrow, we wait with hope.  We wait for the new day, for the fresh grace.  We wait knowing joy does indeed come in the morning.