Through stormy gales, ‘til morning light

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O For Grace

Oh for grace to lay down all my dreams in Him be found
O for faith to keep it true and never stop believing you
And when it’s strong or when it falls through
Oh lord to know my answer is you

And oh for love to trust some more to fix my eyes on heaven’s shore
And for hope with every step every word my every breath
When it’s strong or when it falls through
Oh lord to know my answer is you

For your light I lose my all,
’cause I’m not staying here, I’m moving on
So give me strength to hold on tight through stormy gales ‘til morning light

When it’s strong or when it falls through…
Oh lord to know my answer is you.

B. Toops

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If a picture speaks a thousand words, then a song, ten thousand.

“C.S. Lewis Song” (B. Fraser)

If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy,
I can only conclude that I was not made for here
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary,
then of course I’ll feel nude when to where I’m destined I’m compared

[CHORUS:]
Speak to me in the light of the dawn
Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan as I wait for hope to come for me

Am I lost or just less found? On the straight or on the roundabout of the wrong way?
is this a soul that stirs in me, is it breaking free, wanting to come alive?
‘Cause my comfort would prefer for me to be numb
And avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become

[CHORUS]

[BRIDGE:]
For we, we are not long here
Our time is but a breath, so we better breathe it
And I, I was made to live, I was made to love, I was made to know you
Hope is coming for me
Hope, He’s coming

OUT OF THE DEPTHS (Sovereign Grace)
[Based on Psalm 130]

VERSE 1
Out of the depths, O Lord, I cry to You
When I am tempted to despair
Though I might fail to trust Your promises
You never fail to hear my prayer
And if You judged my sin
I’d never stand again
But I see mercy in Your hands

CHORUS
So more than watchmen for the morning
I will wait for You, my God
When my fears come with no warning
In Your Word I’ll put my trust
When the harvest time is over and I still see no fruit
I will wait, I will wait for You

VERSE 2
The secret mysteries belong to You
We only know what You reveal
And all my questions that are unresolved
Don’t change the wisdom of Your will
In every trial and loss
My hope is in the cross
Where Your compassions never fail

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Sometimes a Light Surprises (W. Cowper – different melody)

Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.

In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.

It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.

Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.

For once, at a lost for words. Or rather, words were inadequate to express the heart.

Inspiration. (Just like breathing)

pc

Lord, catch me off guard today. Surprise me with some moment of beauty or pain so that at least for the moment, I may be startled into seeing that you are here in all your splendor, always… | F. Buechner

That was my idea of freedom and liberty.
Everything that an 8-year old considers as freedom: wilderness, wildlife, canoeing, free falling, wind in my hair, running, colors, stimulation, birch trees, waterfalls, friends, family, love, curiosity, adventure, heroism. Decisions. Change. Fighting for a good cause.

Reviewed my list, and realized I still love most of  these things.
The decisions are still there. The causes for which to fight have changed.

The ways of fighting are not always to advance, but to stand still as well.
Not always to shout, but to be silent.
And to learn when to do what.

The willingness to be surprised is less than it was. For fear of disappointment?
We’re all a bit guarded. Self-preservation with age?

But maybe the solution is to believe that people can change – can choose to be better.
To choose what is right again.
To realize that things happen, and it’s not always about you.
A willingness to be surprised. To counteract the doubt.

Not to write people and situations off.
(It’s not the years that age you, you know. It’s your spirit.)
Be surprised.

Careful what you wish for.

Israel Demands a King

1 Samuel 8:4-9

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah
and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.
But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.
And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.
According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you.
Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.

Today was election day in Canada. The results, you already know. So I will spare you.
After article upon article, quizzes, discussions, and thoughts.

In the end, it was a radio station in Buffalo on my morning drive that helped me with my choice. It shared the passage above on the life of Saul: from his anointing as king to his death by suicide. How mighty he was, and by man’s measure, he was fit to be king. Yet how great was his fall.
Corrosion doesn’t happen over night.

Where – when – did his downfall begin?
When man values the glory (or wealth) and praise of men over God – therein lies your downfall.

The people have chosen. Like the other nations. For ‘freedom.’
Ahh, but at what cost?

There is this life, and we can spend all our efforts on humanitarian causes, green energy, peace efforts, science, research, advancement, freedom of choice (which is never freedom for all). I have spent many hours on these, and continue to do so.

Yet, we miss the point of this life by focusing solely on the items above.
There is also life after death.

Did our choice today reflect our value of eternal life?

And yet.
Does this not also fulfill what has been predicted?

And so, we wait. With hope? With fear?
In faith.

Do you love Me more than these?

I shall know by the gleam and glitter
Of the golden chain you wear,
By your heart’s calm strength in loving,
Of the fire you have had to bear.
Beat on, true heart, forever;
Shine bright, strong golden chain;
And bless the cleansing fire
And the furnace of living pain! | Adelaide A. Procter

An excerpt from Procter’s ‘Cleansing Fires.’
I think she has become one of my favorite poets now.
Procter also wrote other poems, including ‘A Woman’s Question,’ and ‘Now‘ — some of which are now hymns.

Tonight, someone shared this song, ‘O Teach Me What it Meaneth.’

And teach me, Savior, teach me The value of a soul!

…O teach me what it meaneth, Thy love beyond compare,
The love that reacheth deeper Than depths of self-despair!
Yes, teach me, till there gloweth In this cold heart of mine
Some feeble, pale reflection Of that pure love of Thine.

A phrase from John 21:15-19 kept running in my mind: “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” 

What are the ‘these’ in my life? People, plans, projects, things… Things that I am afraid to give up because of the fear of losing them.

Jesus’ response to Peter each time: “Feed My sheep,” and “Tend My sheep.”

Oh, what is the value of a soul? And what does it mean to love them? What is it like to serve with love (and not primarily duty)?

I had a good chat with a friend today after church, about the task-oriented mindset that we’re trained on and paid for. And we talked about living as a testimony at work – how this may look.
We realized that in the end, it is the care and relationships shown to others that we will remember, and are remembered for: a comforting word, a listening ear, starting that fresh pot of coffee in the morning — every morning, a card, a hug. Things that acknowledge that you are there for them, even when you don’t completely know what they need.

We understood that it is easy to focus on tasks when it comes to crunch-time, but is this who you want to be remembered for? The guy who always did his work on time and finished his projects? Or the guy who took the time to listen, always there with a helping hand and an encouraging word?

And for us, this is beyond ‘the acts of a good coworker,’ but a continual testimony,  to“…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
Yes, there are 8 (9… 10?) hours in our work day, but how can we manage our time so that we don’t work as efficient machines, but Christians whose main mission is to demonstrate God’s love for people?

I hope you’re encouraged to learn, to wait and listen for His voice, to persevere when being molded or in the furnace to take away the rubble and leave what is good alone. And then to share and to serve with a new focus.

Oh, life is far from simple. And the paths are not what I had imagined.
The things that I thought would delight did not (from experience, or exemption).
But the pursuit of things beyond what I can see, by the promise of providence — these, I am finding, are enough.

SDg

Per Pacem Ad Lucem 
I DO not ask, O Lord, that life may be
A pleasant road;
I do not ask that Thou wouldst take from me
Aught of its load;

I do not ask that flowers should always spring
Beneath my feet;
I know too well the poison and the sting
Of things too sweet.

For one thing only, Lord, dear Lord, I plead,
Lead me aright—
Though strength should falter, and though heart should bleed—
Through Peace to Light.

I do not ask, O Lord, that thou shouldst shed
Full radiance here;
Give but a ray of peace, that I may tread
Without a fear.

I do not ask my cross to understand,
My way to see;
Better in darkness just to feel Thy hand
And follow Thee.

Joy is like restless day; but peace divine
Like quiet night:
Lead me, O Lord,—till perfect Day shall shine,
Through Peace to Light.