Christ-coloured Glassess

I was just re-reading some of these old posts and thought that in our dark world, with mass killings and turbulent elections and world unrest, perhaps we could try to bring some light back into it.

A Single Christian in a Married World

Rose-coloured glasses Rose-coloured glasses

Sometimes I can’t quite understand how a God that is perfect, all-powerful and holy can look at us, at me, at all.  Let alone not strike me down in my place.  One day I was thinking about this and I started thinking that God has to see us through rose-coloured glasses…no, through Christ-coloured glasses…and the following poem was born.

Christ-Coloured Glasses

When we see the world
Through rose-coloured glasses,
The world takes on a rosy hue—
The people, the events
That we inevitably see
Appear better, brighter in this view.

I wish I could see through
Rose-coloured glasses!
I see evil, sadness, wrong-doing and pain.
I wish I could see past
The darkness veiling
To see truth and hope, without a stain.

Christ saw the world
Through rose-coloured glasses;
He saw straight through to the heart.
He looked past the outer
Shell of a man
To the…

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And Donkey Said, “I need a hug” (Shrek)

Hello, everyone!  I have been gone for over a year but I think I might be ready to get

back into the swing of things…slowly.  I’ve frankly had nothing worth writing over the last year. And as Ben Franklin said, one should “either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”  So since I had nothing worth writing, I didn’t… 🙂

I have been thinking a lot, though.  A dangerous pastime, indeed…

One of the many things I’ve contemplated is whether all singles, like me, sometimes long for meaningful touch.  The medical community says that we need at least 15 instances of meaningful touch per day to maintain our health.  Dr. Patricia Blackwell in her article, The Influence of touch on Child Development:  Implications on Intervention, mentions historical episodes where orphan babies that weren’t held not only didn’t thrive but actually perished.  So it would seem like a scholarly thing to say that meaningful touch is important to us.

I must say that wherein most of the time I am blessedly content in my single situation, sometimes all my hard work is upended by the simple desire to hold someone’s hand or to have someone hug me.  Having said this, I do have my nephews and all of my friends that do hold my hand and hug me when they can, so I’m not looking for sympathy.  What I’m looking for is confirmation–do you feel this way, on occasion, too?

Why Jesus and dry erase markers are awesome…

Living - Phenomenally.

But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause. Who does great things – and unsearchable, marvelous things without number. Job 5:8-9

I love you, O Lord, my Strength. Psalm 18:1

I’ve been putting some serious miles on my favorite blue sneakers. You see, I’d been considering taking up running again for a while…but then excuses and 5am alarms would usually push those runs off my agenda for the day. But then my boss (who is an amazing long-distance runner) completed his 2nd ultramarathon – the monstrous JFK 50 Miler, and I found some hidden inspiration to start hitting the pavement again. In order to help return my morning runs to habit, I’ve had to continue to fuel that inspiration in as many ways as I can think of. One of them includes dry-erase messages all over my bathroom mirror. It’s covered  right…

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His Mercy is Our Song

Music by Mary!

Music by Mary!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.  Psalm 100 KJV

As do millions of other humans planet-wide, I love music.  We used to sing the above Psalm at Bible camp and therefore the words are still firmly wedged in my mind.  Music can get a hold of you in a way that no other medium can.  Why else would radio stations still exist in this world of high-flying technology and digital video players?  We like to crank our favourite songs and A).  dance wildly, B).  cry our eyes out, or C).  write a blog…

BUT is music of God? Should we be so involved in it as Christians?

OF COURSE (see the above Psalm).  How do I know this…

Music, as mentioned in the Bible, goes quite a ways back in history.  Many of the Psalms written by David starts out with a note “for the director of music” which logically suggests that he anticipated that his writings would be put to music and sung.

By David’s time there was even a designated group of Levites who were set aside for the praise and worship team.  31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. 32 They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them. 1 Chronicles 6: 31, 32 NIV

We find this worship team mentioned many times throughout 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah.

12 All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. 13 The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang:
“He is good;    
his love endures forever.”
Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud,14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.
2 Chronicles 5:12 – 14 NIV

“…for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God”…and aren’t we God’s temple?

We find mention of music and singing continuing on into New Testament times as well.  After Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples they sang a hymn.  When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.  Matthew 26:30 NIV

OK, time for the big debate–AS CHRISTIANS, WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC SHOULD WE SING or PLAY?

What does God say?

Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:18b – 20 NIV

Let the peace of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another wth all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your in your heart to God. Colossians 3:16 NIV 84

We are to sing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (songs from the Spirit)” which kind of covers it all, from the Bible’s Psalm 100, to the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness, to the chorus Blessed Be the Name, to Manafest’s Human.  Do you notice, though, that it is not the type of song we sing that seems to be the most important thing, but rather that we sing with the right attitude–thanksgiving and gratitude to God.

It is good to praise the Lord
and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
how profound your thoughts!
But you, Lord, are forever exalted.  Psalm 92:1 – 5, 8 NIV

So, there is a reason why music touches our souls–God designed us this way!  Our souls long to sing praises to our God, to share His incredible love for us, as Group1Crew writes in their song His Kind of Love:

There are no words, no phrase I could create
There is no melody that I could make
How do you sing about the love so deep
Without feeling like you missed something
I could try but I could not explain

His kind of love 
Is reckless for us
His kind of love it will never give up
‘Til the whole world knows how far He went to show
His kind of love

This is our God
He is strong and His mercy is our song
He won’t stop chasing us
That’s just His kind of love

God sings to us through bird song, whispering winds, the voices of our loved ones, through music.  He has given us so much and loves us with a depth that we can’t even imagine.  We learn in Luke 19:37 – 40 from Jesus that if His disciples didn’t cry out in song, the rocks would!

Do we want to leave the rocks to cry out the blessings of the Lord?  No, this is our job.

Therefore, sing and make music to the Lord!  Lift up your voice in song!  Sing of our God in a mighty voice as a fragrant offering to our God!  Try to explain in words how amazing is the grace of our God!  May He feel our thanks and our gratitude and may others feel His mercy and grace!

Coming Home

Caedmon's Call

Caedmon’s Call

Some days are just so bad that you wonder what the point of all of this is.  I know–it happens to me, too.  Satan is so invasive.  He can use anything to try to bring us to a point of despair.  Although, sometimes, we are our own greatest enemies.

When all seems despair remember what Jesus said:  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1 – 3 NIV

It is hard to be Christ-like when we are only humans.  Keep at it, friends, don’t give in to the lie of despair!

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7 – 9

Christ has already won the war!  There is a great reward ahead of us!  We just need to persevere!

Coming Home
by Caedmon’s Call

You say you want a living sacrifice?
Well, I am a burnt offering
Crawling off the altar and
Back in to the fire.

And with my smoke-filled lungs,
I cry out for freedom…
While locking and chaining myself
To my rotting desires.

And I hate the stench,
But I swallowed the key,
And with it stuck in my throat,
Can you hear me?

Can you hear me?

I’m comin’ home, I’m comin’ home.
I’m comin’ home, I’m comin’ home.
But I’m still a long way off.

I am shelled-shocked, and I have walked
Through the trenches full of tears,
With the mortars of memory
Exploding in my burning ears.

You stripped the trees of Lebanon,
And now you’re stripping me
Of the bark of false morality,
And the bite of selfish greed.

Can you hear me?

I’m comin’ home, I’m comin’ home.
I’m comin’ home, I’m comin’ home.
But I’m still a long way off.

Will you run to me?
Will you come to me?
Will you meet me?
Will you greet me?
Will you drag me home?
‘Cause I’m still a long way off.

I’m comin’ home, I’m comin’ home.
I’m comin’ home, I’m comin’ home.
But I’m still a long way off.

Here is a video of the song.  Alas, I couldn’t find one with Caedmon’s Call singing it, but you can get it on iTunes.

Hold Me Jesus…

Temptation hits all of us, even Christians.  What can we do?  Listen to Rich Mullins as he talks about one of his experiences in the following “Beaker wouldn’t snore. Hold me Jesus”.

 

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Matthew 26:41 NIV Jesus is giving us advice about how to overcome temptation.  He was tempted and He knows that you, too, will be.  Prayer is powerful.  Remember Rich Mullins’ prayer the next time temptation creeps into your life.

HOLD ME JESUS
By Rich Mullins

Well, sometimes my life just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small
So hold me Jesus,
’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace
And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It’s so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart
So hold me Jesus,
’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace
Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I’ve beat my head against so many walls
Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees
And this Salvation Army band is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin
I’m singing
Hold me Jesus,
’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

Purity 1: What is purity?

Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon

I would sooner be holy than happy if the two things could be divorced. Were it possible for a man always to sorrow and yet to be pure, I would choose the sorrow if I might win the purity, for to be free from the power of sin, to be made to love holiness, is true happiness. Charles Spurgeon

Purity is a complex topic.  It is an important topic, though, one worth spending some time on because we are exhorted to purity in the Bible.

Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.  2 Corinthians 7:16c  NIV

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians 4:8  NIV

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  1 Timothy 4:12 NIV

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers,older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.  1Timothy 5:1,2

I suppose in this day and age, where purity is a reference to “uncontaminated” street drugs, it is useful to ask ourselves the question, “What IS purity?

The online Merriam Webster dictionary states that purity is 1.  freedom from adulteration or contamination, 2.  freedom from immorality, esp. of a sexual nature.  Synonyms mentioned include chastity, cleanliness, cleanness, innocence, clarity. Wikipedia describes purity as the “absence of vice in human character”.

Thomas a Kempis, who is believed to be the author of The Imitation of Christ, describes purity as such:
Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature. Simplicity is in the intention, purity in the affection; simplicity turns to God; purity unites with and enjoys him.

How does God describe purity?

Psalm 15 (NIV) says:
1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
2 The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
3 whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
4 who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
5 who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.

And in Micah 6:8 (NKJV) He says,
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

There is more to purity, as you can see, than sexual purity, but as a single Christian sexual purity is particularly important so stay tuned!  The next post in this series will address sexual purity.  Watch the following video as a teaser.

True Woman | True Woman Videos: Why purity is such a big deal.