Easter and everything else…

Everything is all wrong I feel like I am just doing it all wrong. Nothing feels the same this year. We’re in a new city. Still no church to call home. Not a single feeling of Easter going on in this house.

That makes me sad. But my daughter wants ham. Well…having ham does not make it a celebration of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Ham is ham. And no amount of culinary tradition can truly honor Him the way we should.

And where is our son? That is a whole different situation. I’ve never dealt with something like this. A missing person. My brain didn’t seem to want to wrap around the thought. But as I was calling hospitals in the city where we believe him to be…my heart began feeling heavier and heavier. As a mother…not knowing where your child is may be one of the worst feelings in the universe.

Lord, please help!

Help is needed in other areas too. I’m doing it wrong. My whole walk with Christ. Has it been untrue…insincere…fake all this time? But I was just following what I thought was right. Worship style. Preaching style. Too much music. Not enough music. Serving a version of God and Jesus that we have made up to make ourselves feel good. Am I truly following and doing the will of the One true God?

“I need a ‘do-over.'” I told my friends. Like I just need to start again with Jesus.
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So I started this post 2 days ago…I’m back now.
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It’s Easter morning and not a thing going on.
No church.
No nice brunch.
Still no word about our son.
More “stuff” at former church.
And junk…

I just feel…

Honestly I don’t know how I feel.

But like I have learned…don’t rely on my feelings. That is not reality. You know? Rely on God.

While we may not be doing all that “Eastery” stuff…God is still God. Jesus STILL rose from the grave and became the King of Kings! Those are the awesome and comforting things I know!

k

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shut up!

I could not fall asleep last night. My brain just would not turn off. All I wanted to do was yell, “Shut Up!!” But what good would that have done? None. And I would have freaked out all of my family members.

There is just so much on my mind lately. That happens a lot I guess.

Our family is packing it up and moving to a different state. There is a group of people that I love going through some really hard stuff and it makes me sad. To have to say good-bye to them during this turmoil is a bit heart breaking.

And my mind won’t shut up about it.

Then I see a post on facebook…something about writing. Paraphrasing here…it said, “write about your fears, things you love, things you hate. Write without holding back.” That kind of thing, you know?

So here I am.

This move is huge for us. My youngest will have to change schools and make new friends. I have no doubt she will, but it’s just a big adjustment. My oldest daughter will have to find a new job. I have to find a new job. And my dear husband will have to find something to do to stay occupied. Being on disability is not a fun thing.

Will the church I found turn out to be a good one or not?

Will we make enough money quickly enough to move into our own house. And yeah…I’m totally looking forward to moving AGAIN within a year or so.

etc. etc. etc…

And what about my friends…the group of people in turmoil? What’s going to happen to them?

You know…I think that is what’s bothering me the most. So much has happened. So many hurt feelings. So many opinions. And I understand. That’s my problem. I see the situation through the eyes of various individuals. Yet, I try to figure out what the purpose is…what God’s will is.

That is not for me to know. I know God’s will is always good. And I’m not happy that things have gone the way they have by any means. But I know that God wasn’t surprised. He knew.

I take it back. That’s not what’s bothering me the most.

My friend is angry. And she has a right to be. My fear? If I open up completely about my opinion, she’s going to be mad…disappointed…maybe even not want to talk to me. Are my fears substantiated? Probably not. But I don’t know. And that’s what I’m afraid of.

Psalm 73 (click link) is a Bible passage that was shared with me. I read it. And re-read it. Several times.

I know that some people did things the wrong way. I absolutely understand that and it makes me sick.

Verse 21 says, “Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.”

Am I/was I harboring bitterness in my heart over this situation? I believe so. Are others? Quite possibly.

Over two days, as I mentioned, I kept reading Psalm 73. I felt as though the Lord was putting something on my heart.

The last several verses reminded me that when angry, I/we have a human tendency to act foolishly. As if God’s very words to me were,

“Don’t be foolish in this situation. Who is in control here? I understand your frustration. But this is something that had to happen. Let me guide you and those affected to your glorious destiny.”

I can forgive because God gives me the gift of forgiveness. Does it excuse the behaviors? Not a chance. A quote from a friend…”Trust and Integrity – once lost is hard to regain.”

It was 1:30am when I finally got up out of bed. I went to the kitchen to get some milk…I’ve heard it helps you fall asleep…and my ibuprofen…maybe if my joints didn’t ache so much I could fall asleep. Right? Then I grabbed my phone and earphones. Music is always helpful in relaxing…at least for me.

Pandora was my music app of choice last night. Or should I say this morning? LOL Anyway…I turned my light off once again, laid back with my headphones in place, and hit play. (Figuratively speaking)

What was the first song to play? It was “From the Inside Out” by Hillsong. That’s the song/video I have at the beginning of this post. Great song. It nearly caused me to burst into tears.

The song says it all. At least for me in this situation.


A thousand times I’ve failed
Still your mercy remains
Should I stumble again
Still I’m caught in your grace
Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, your glory goes beyond all fame

Your will above all else
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself in bringing you praise
Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, your glory goes beyond all fame

My heart and my soul
I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love you from the inside out

Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring you praise
From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out


I will continue to fail in my reactions. That’s a given. I’m human.

But God’s grace is everlasting.

His light will shine even in the darkest of times.

His will before ours.

My purpose is to give Him praise…give Him control. Right?

Lord, my soul cries out to You.

Consume me from the inside out.

k

music and worship…

So… lately the subject of music has been on my mind. Mostly praise and worship music. There also seems to be a lot of talk about it. Facebook, radio, blogs, etc.

I was reading a post on Facebook from Hillsong United. They are a group from Australia. They have become quite popular. With that popularity has come controversy. I don’t know all of the ‘ins and outs’ but apparently some think they are “selling God” with their music and ministry.

The comments were not offensive, per se, they were more accusatory…claims of idolatry and such.

My feelings on the subject of music have been pulled in many directions over the course of my Christian life.

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Ok…I need to stop here. I’m attempting to write a nice “thought out” blog about this subject. However, what I really want to say is this…

I love music in general. Praise and worship music is my favorite because I can praise, pray to, and worship my Lord and Savior while listening and singing along. Is that so bad?

Do I “feel” anything while singing? Yeah. I guess I do. Sue me. I don’t know if it’s the Holy Spirit. I don’t know for sure if when I’m singing a prayer like song that the Lord hears me. Is the Spirit interceding for me? Again…I don’t know.

My problem is this…several times I’ve heard/read that worship music before a sermon isn’t biblical. Worship music is a form of paganism. And just today in that post from Hillsong, a person declared that they were “selling God.”

Should secular music be cut out of my life? I don’t know. There were times that I thought it should be. As a new believer I sold dozens of my cds in my collection because they were not Christian. Now I wonder if that was the “right” thing to do. Now folks are questioning other folks for owning cds by Christian artists.

Is music and singing biblical? Yes. The Bible speaks of people singing and dancing before the Lord. The Bible speaks of singing and worshiping God in heaven for all of eternity.

So where are we/am I going wrong? I’m confused.

Honestly, so many of the songs I love tell a story…they’re prayers. It’s as if someone else wrote exactly what I am feeling or have felt. I can relate to the lyrics. If the song is more prayer like, it’s as if I am praying to God just as the author of the song is.

And so many others who are listening.

Help me out. Anyone reading this. Help me to know exactly what is or is not biblical about enjoying praise and worship music.

k

Contrarian Christians

I’ve never re-blogged before…but this one is a good one! Take a few moments to read.

Restoring Kingdom Builders

“You’ll never be popular.”

That’s what a retired policeman told me after I had preached a sermon early in my pastoral career.

He told me that my sermon was great, but that if I preached that way in the future, many churchgoers weren’t going to like it.

He was probably right.

Some Christians … and I count myself as one … do not always agree with certain popular teachings or practices in the Christian church.

In fact, just because they’re popular doesn’t mean they’re right … or even wise.

When you think outside the mainstream, you might just be a contrarian … even if you’re a follower of Jesus.

Let me give you several illustrations of what I’m talking about:

*The words to a well-known chorus state, “An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.”

Is that true?

I hear that phrase “the empty grave” used as evidence of…

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Christmas Eve…

I was up before the sun today. There was good reason. My oldest daughter had to be at work by 7am. Although she hates waking up early, she is glad to be off early today. It’s going to be a busy day in the department store where she works. Just thinking of all the last minute shoppers at the mall makes me feel stressed! Going to the grocery store today is not something I’m looking forward to either. That will be just as bad.

There’s a lot to think about this Christmas Eve day. There have been terrible tragedies across the country in recent weeks. Sad news has even reached my very own backyard, so-to-speak…a suicide at the beach and what appears to be an attempted suicide in our local mall. So horribly sad. People are feeling hopeless. That makes me sad.

One of my friends posted her thoughts on Facebook last night:

It just breaks my heart that people feel that all hope is gone. How I pray for those tonight who are might even be reading this – those who are feel there is nothing left. For those who do not know the Hope that is there for the taking. You might even say, “I don’t need God – He can’t give me anything or change my circumstances.”

With God there is HOPE – With God there is something to look forward to – With God there is forgiveness, grace, mercy and love – it’s yours for the taking. You have nothing to lose! Give Him a try – I promise you will NOT be disappointed!

I could not have said it better myself.

As I drove back home after dropping my daughter off at work I heard the song “Gloria in Excelsis Deo.” Translated that means “glory to God in the highest.” The song was actually getting me a little choked up. Really. The song praises God. It calls us to give Him all the glory! I will! The Creator of the earth, who sent his son for us, deserves praise.

Without that incredible Christmas miracle we would have absolutely no reason to even celebrate Christmas. Because of the gift of Jesus, we can have that hope and not be discouraged. We can know that with His grace, mercy, and love, we are forgiven and that He loves us NO MATTER WHAT!!! No one should be so discouraged that they can’t see the Light.

Without God there is no Christmas. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will work within me to make that light known to others.

k

rock and worship…

“That was totally wicked!!!” so says the little boy in “The Incredibles” who just witnessed the most awesome thing ever. But he didn’t mean it was actually wicked in the sense we think of wickedness…he thought it was extraordinary! The same could be said of the concert I attended with some family and friends.

The Rock and Worship Roadshow came to Sacramento last night. It is a concert tour that includes several Christian singers and groups like Tenth Avenue North, LeCrae, Disciple, and my personal favorite of the night…MercyMe…man I love those guys!


The entire show was like a huge worship service at church. Each artist and group is so totally on fire for the Lord. It’s amazing. One moment that I remember well was during MercyMe’s performance. At one point everyone was having a moment where we were feeling all “We are the World-ish” and would give a hug to anyone, according to Bart Millard. But Bart pointed out that even though we know how we ought to be living our lives, we don’t always do it…especially in times of trouble or tragedy. And that is so true. But what is also true is that even though we may mess up in those times, God still loves us. He is still there for us. Hallelujah!

I can only hope that the performances we witnessed were as moving for the others in attendance as they was for me. What a great way to be reminded that I have already said, “So long self!” and that I am going to continue my “Move” in the right direction…cuz God may just “Bring the Rain” but I can feel His presence “Here with Me.”

LOL! I know…cheesy but true! What can I say? I couldn’t resist. 🙂

k

going through the motions…

Not long ago, as I wrote about here recently, I had a bit of a medical worry. Thanks to God everything turned out fine.And I made no mistake about praising Him very publicly for that wonderful news.

But very soon after that I could feel it…the complacency creeping up…a backing up of sorts…hard to explain. God gave me what I wanted, so now I can just go back to “going through the motions.” I DON’T WANT THAT!!! No Way!

I praised Him and held tight to His promises in a way I never had before during those few weeks. I trusted Him, loved Him, sang praises to Him, acknowledged Him in every way. That’s what I want on a daily basis…not just in times of deep need.

“I can feel your presence here with me. Suddenly I’m lost within Your beauty,” say the lyrics to this MercyMe song. That’s what I want to feel. I want to know He is here with me no matter what.



Certainly there are others out there who feel this way too. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will work in me so that I will continue to have that desire, love, and faith just as I did before..that the enemy won’t steal my joy away and make me think it’s ok to just “go through the motions.” This life has so much to offer and I want to experience all that God has in store for me.

I will pray that for others as well.

k