Contrary to the excruciating circumstances surrounding us at First Baptist, I awoke with such joy. I credit it to reading about our dear sister’s, and her family’s faith confession in the face of severe illness. They are still choosing to call God good, and so will I.
When I saw the rain outside my window this morning my heart leapt with joy. But my sister, how was she? As I went outside to work I paused, and looked up and welcomed the rain on my face. But my sister how was she? What ever she was experiencing, one thing was sure – her situation was reminding me of HIS gift called LIFE.
Strange how someone’s faithful posture in the face of uncertainty can lift so many hearts, and knit so many together.
Whether she is healed to spend more days on earth with us, or healed to enter heaven before me, my heart thanks her. In her suffering she has given more life to me than she’ll ever know, and has brought the promise of eternity closer.
And through the tears there is this unspeakable joy that cannot be explained. It is the Spirit bonding us together, whether near or far. It is the mystery of the Gospel calling us home and flooding us with HOPE.
Thank you my dear sister. You know well – God is still good.
Last night I couldn’t sleep, and decided to watch a “no brainer” kind of movie. Some of the subliminal messages kept rippling in the rain this morning. I got my coat on, and went for a walk in a nearby park. Nothing like a stroll in the fresh autumn air to turn our eyes towards our creator. His light illuminates the beautiful truth.
As I shuffled through the dying leaves my mouth couldn’t help but smile. I felt so glad to be alive. In my moment of gratitude words came out of my mouth, words that brought the dilemma of this dying world, and the promise of life to light.
Some of these words may not be understood without an understanding of scripture. If you have questions about some of the terminology, make sure you ask them. Find someone who owns a Bible and dig in.
This song is a message for those who believe, and yet doubt in God’s power. How many times have I prayed for someone’s relief, and doubted it may happen? This song is a message for those who believe, but have forgotten where they’ve come from. This is a song of conviction, and of hope, and a song to soothe the weary caregiver’s heart (Gal. 6:9).
She comes and goes in different colours. She changes clothes but underneath,
the sound of axes in the forest remind us all about the thief.
Her yesterdays keep on repeating, despite the prayers upon our lips.
But if He’s given us tomorrow, there’s still a hope that she’ll be His.
So bend your knees all God’s children, arm for battle, sound the cry.
And do not weary of your mission until this daughter is His Bride.
We come and go in different colours, we wear your robe but underneath
our accusations of each other bring us so humbly to your feet.
And under grace our hearts keep beating, your ceaseless prayers have called us forth.
And while we’re certain of tomorrow, there are still more who will be yours.
So bend your knees all God’s children, arm for battle, sound the cry.
And do not weary of your mission until this daughter is His Bride.
These past few days have carried heavy news to my heart, and the hearts of those I love. When I feel helpless to find comfort or bring comfort to others, I know where to hide. I cozy up on my Heavenly Father’s lap and close my eyes and let the tears fall. Psalm 56:8 tells us that God catches our tears in a bottle. He sees them. He feels our sorrow. He hears our prayers. And there in my hiding place I beckon you to climb up on his lap. There is room for you too.
My Paradise and Heaven
Dedicated to Amanda and her family, and to mine, and to ours together, as one day we will enjoy such sweet reunion.
Is He a mere three letter word, this God I put my trust in?
Is this presence that calms my fears, a ghost of my imagination?
Have the prayers I’ve prayed each day and night sailed into some abyss?
Have the tears I’ve cried, and all my sleepless nights gone unnoticed?
Is my reflection of pure peacefulness, a mask or a mirage?
Who then has quenched my thirst and grown my courage?
Who washed away my hopeless state, and turned my eyes upward?
There is a God my heart knows well, I take Him at His word.
Upon the wind, under the sun, the earth expounds His praise.
Shall I not too be wise to share His wonder all my days?
Is He a mere three letter word, this God I put my hope in?
He is my breath, my life and death, my paradise and heaven.
I often imagine myself as one of the first disciples Christ called…drifting into shore in a fishing boat, and finding a stranger waiting there. Hearing him speak my name as if He’s known me my whole life, calling me to follow him and leave everything behind.
How is that different than Christ calling someone to faith today? We don’t get to see him in the flesh, but we can hear him, and we know He is alive and well.
And here’s something even more mind blowing to consider, was Christ not calling us at the same time He called his first disciples? It just took a few more years for our ears to hear him. “Simon/Peter, Andrew, James, John………Cindy” (Matthew 4:18-22). Was He not calling us before the earth was formed (Ephesians 1:4)?
Many times when I face challenges and expect Christianity to be easier, I think of Stephen (another of Christ’s disciples), full of the Spirit, speaking to the crowd with such passion and love. He died that day, stoned to death, but saw Christ, standing at the right hand of God – waiting for Him in the sky (Acts 7).
How is my responsibility any different than Stephen’s? I too want to be ready to speak when the Spirit leads. Should I expect a safer outcome?
What does it mean to be called? What does the Bible say about the chosen children of God? John 1:12, Romans 8:19, Galatians 3:26
These word pictures and questions inspired me to write a song for our Church’s One Hundred and Twenty Fifth Anniversary, June 24th, 2017 at First Baptist in Olds, Alberta.
I could have written something about God’s faithfulness and our church’s longevity, however I thought it prudent to celebrate the privilege of being chosen, the cost of being a follower, and the joy of being an active part of the body of Christ.
Once songs were chosen and emailed off to the different worship team members, I sat at the breakfast table and wondered “what next God?” Every day is an open window, a portal to new lessons waiting to be learned.
By the end of the day I wasn’t sure what it was I was supposed to learn. “I may have been better off staying inside with a closed door.” I muttered under my breath.
But there in the middle of an absent answer – was the answer itself. Every phone call, every errand ran, every conversation had been riddled with obvious pain. Maybe it wasn’t obvious to everyone, but I could feel it. I could hear it in their voices. I could see it in their body language, like a crippling disease. As I witnessed and embraced my beloved (those who Christ has blessed my life with) I too felt my bones weaken, and my spirit faint, and knelt to hand my anguish over to God. Prayer was the lesson. Prayer was the answer that always leads to action.
For the addict whose name was the same as a biblical warrior – I prayed for the Holy Spirit to intervene, so that he too could march around his walls of Jericho, and conquer his demons once and for all.
For the mother, I thought of Jochebed, Moses’ mother and how she too had to let go of her son unwillingly, and watch a stranger raise him. I asked the Holy Spirit to comfort her, and remembered Romans 8:26 “In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
And for a friend who is always struggling to make ends meet I thought of the Israelites wandering in the desert, afraid for how they were going to find food and water. God had given them manna with instructions on how to collect it and use it to keep their bodies fueled, but in their disconnect they squandered it and the food spoiled. Their wandering cycle lasted for 40 years and many died on the way to the Promised Land. I prayed for my friend, for the power of the Holy Spirit to help her look up and take hold of God’s provision, and so break the generational cycle, which threatened to end her life and the lives of her children, and their children.
And for me, I cried out to God that I would get up off my knees and act out His compassion, as Christ and the early church exemplified (Acts 2:43-47).
As I wondered just how much we should give, and where the balance should be the words “poured out” tumbled out of my mouth.
Isaiah 53:12b “…..because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Let us be quick to pour out what He has given us, and be slow to consider ourselves.
Everyone is changing their mind, or getting on the band wagon, or losing conviction, or…..and the list goes on.
So she wrote her little song on a cold winter’s day, tucked the tears in her heart, sent the music to play. To fly to Jesus like a bird on the wind, He’s coming again someday.
She knows they have their reasons for drifting away, ’cause she’s caught herself in seasons of dry bones, but a change of heart is different than changing your mind, and the road ahead looks more and more alone.
So she strums her little song on a sweet summer’s night, holds His promises close, as her whispers take flight. They fly to Jesus like a bird on the wind, He’s coming again someday.
And she contemplates the choices, the give and the take. She’s no stranger to the voices man is prone. She’ll change her mind on coffee, but anchor her heart on the only One who’s going to lead her home.
The hours are fleeting, the daylight is but a glow on the sea. And there’s a meeting she’s keeping, she sings – He’s coming for me.
So she sings His mighty song on the battlefield line, with His sword in her hand and a victory cry. They fly to Jesus like a bird on the wind, He’s coming again someday.
And she mourns the soldiers falling, the left and the right. She hears the scoffers calling to her soul. But her heart is pressing forward and leaving behind, each word that stands against the truth she knows.
The other day my daughter and I were praying, and some of her words reminded me of how I usually pray at the piano and write… Above is a word picture of a songwriter’s heart contemplating the signs of the times, and the affects thereof.
And scripture tells us…
And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray.For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.And then many will fall awayand betray one another and hate one another.And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.But the one who endures to the end will be saved.And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole worldas a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:4-14 ESV).
Seems like a strange day to consider a man’s freedom and life, but any day is the right day to stand and sing for justice. Today is the day to celebrate life!
It always amazes me how we applaud those who steal life away, simply by saying their name. We glorify murder by telling their stories in cheap recreations and call it entertainment. We are pulled by our death (sin) nature into more death. We perpetuate violence by normalizing it in our culture.
Today let us make a concentrated effort to celebrate life, and mention names of people who were victims, but the true heroes of our time.
Today I want to remember Mr. Bigley. I never knew him, but our family, along with many others around the world, prayed for his release and safety. Sadly He was killed in 2004, and the world mourned together.
Part of my prayer time on behalf of Mr. Bigley, found me writing a song. Songwriting for me is a process of seeking for God’s truth in all circumstances. My children and I sang Mr. Bigley’s song one November morning, on our radio station in small town Olds, Alberta. We wanted to celebrate life and remember him.
I think of Matthew 10:28, where we are reminded not to be afraid of those who can kill the body, but cannot kill the soul.
As I write about Mr. Bigley, I am reminded of a journalist we prayed for back in 2002 – Daniel Pearl. His widow Mariane Pearl wrote the memoir “A Mighty Heart” which was later made into a movie by the same name. An award winning documentary is also available for viewing, as well as a published book by family, which records the world’s response to Daniel’s death. Something I would like to participate in the future is “Daniel Pearl’s World Music Days”. You can read more about it at this link: Daniel Pearl World Music Days
Recently one of my daughter’s asked me to send her Mr. Bigley’s song, and I would like to share it with you as well. Today is [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]a good day to celebrate life, to stand and sing for justice.[/clickandtweet]
She was seventeen when she died. My husband and I had babysat Sarah, and her two sisters when they were in elementary school. They moved away and we tried to keep in touch, but the distance didn’t change our adoration for them and their parents.
Time passed and we heard our friends were divorcing. One January, Mom and the girls took a trip skiing. On their way home there was a terrible accident and Sarah left our presence forever.
I remember when I got the phone call. I walked to the refrigerator and stared at their picture, until the weight of it all buckled my knees beneath me, and I slumped to the floor.
Soon after I was driving my children home from an errand and mumbling under my breath to God, about the accident. I was angry, and stopped at an intersection to wipe my tears.
“Are you sure you’re not just up there playing some game” I asked God.
“There probably isn’t even a heaven, we’re just pawns, expendable” I spewed.
In that same instant I looked in the rear view mirror as if the Holy Spirit had prompted me to do so. There was my youngest’s blue eyes blinking back at me. She looked like a porcelain doll. In the backseat my two oldest children, equally as wonderful, were playing.
[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]”If I can give you these children, I can make a heaven”[/clickandtweet] I heard God whisper to my heart.
VERSE 1: Is there a place called heaven, when darkness comes to call? Do we just believe in heaven, when everything is going well? I asked the God of my salvation, and he answered me. Heaven is a place found in a child’s face, look and you will see…..
CHORUS: [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Heaven can be found woven in a newborn’s hair, you’ll find it there. [/clickandtweet]Heaven can be seen deep within their trusting eyes, oh how they shine. Sweeter than a kiss from their gentle lips, and softer than their skin bare upon your breast. Well, if he can give us this, if he can give us this…. I know heaven exists. Heaven is a place found in a child’s face, think on this.
VERSE 2: Losing everything can shake us, strip our very faith to bone. Eternity seems all but made up when love is lost and you’re alone. I asked the God of my salvation to show himself to me. And in a child’s face he revealed a place, where we will one day be free.
CHORUS: Heaven can be found woven in a newborn’s hair, you’ll find it there. Heaven can be seen deep within their trusting eyes, oh how they shine. Sweeter than a kiss from their gentle lips, and softer than their skin bare upon your breast. Well, if he can give us this, if he can give us this I know heaven exists. Heaven is a place found in a child’s face, think of it.
(we had to lose a family friend back in 1994, for me to see heaven, full story posted tomorrow)