Friday, January 28, 2011

A Psalm to Share

Last evening, as I opened my Bible to read a Psalm before bed, I found that the one that I was on for the day was one of my favorites . . . and one that I have memorized in song (only the New King James Version of it. :) I found myself singing in my head the beautiful and encouraging words as I read, and I hope that the words will be a blessing to you as well . . .

"O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there was a word on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
and laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

"Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
even there Your hand will lead me,
and Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, 'Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
and the light around me will be night,'
even the darkness is not dark to You,
and the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

"For you formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
wonderful are Your works,
and my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was made in secret,
and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
and in Your book were all written
the days that were ordained [lit. fashioned] for me,
when as yet there was not one of them.

"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You . . . .

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
try me and know my anxious thoughts;
and see if there be any hurtful way in me,
and lead me in the everlasting way."
Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24

-Posted by Sarah

Monday, January 17, 2011

Not in part, but the whole

This past week, I have had a song repeatedly coming into my thoughts throughout the day. Its message is stirring and thought-provoking, and also bears a challenge to each of us as followers of Jesus Christ.

All Of Me

All of me, Not a part but all of me
All the heart and soul of me
Jesus, I surrender

I believe, Lord, help my unbelief
On the altar now I lay
all I am today

So use me, Lord, use me anywhere at all
Though my place may be great or small
let me fill it gladly

Take my life, be it poor or be it grand
Let me live it by Your plan.
Shape it with Your hand

As I am, I come to Thee without one plea
Only that Thy saving blood
was shed for me

All of me, through the ages yet to be
I surrender Lord to Thee
I surrender all of me
All of me
I surrender all,
All of me

After reading the lyrics again, I took a moment to look up two of the main words in the song to see just what they mean . . .

Surrender: To give oneself up completely, to yield
All: Completely, Entirely, Wholly, without reservation

Indeed, that should be the earnest cry of the heart of every believer. And also something that we should be asking ourselves often . . . are we surrendering all to Christ? Have we yielded every part of our lives to be shaped by His hand? Or are there areas that we are holding back? I think it is safe to say that surrendering ourselves wholly to the Lord is something that we must do each and every day - it is not a one time thing. But day by day, we can come closer and closer to our goal and someday we will reach that point of complete surrender when we are with Him in glory. What a precious promise that is!

-Posted by Leah 

Words and music by Mosie Lister
Photo by : Bruno Monginoux

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In Tune

Yesterday afternoon, Leah and I had been playing the piano together, and I pulled out my fiddle to play that for a bit as well. As with any stringed instrument, it needs to be tuned each time before playing it. Usually, this is just a tweaking and doesn't take long, but with our recent drop in humidity, all of the tuning pegs had slipped and the strings were loose on the instrument. As I worked to tune them back up to where they needed to be, the parallel between this fiddle and our spiritual lives came to mind.

Just as the fiddle needs to be 'in tune' in order to play the sweet melody that is pleasing to the ear, just so our lives need to be 'in tune' with the Lord in order to walk in obedience to Him and be pleasing in His sight.

The longer the instrument is allowed to sit without being tuned, the further out of tune it becomes . . . which again, is the same with us. The longer we spend away from the Lord, away from reading His word, away from prayer, the further 'out of tune' we become, and the longer it can take to bring our lives back into harmony with God's word.

When the fiddle slips as far out of tune as it had yesterday, it also needs several 'rounds' of tuning done . . . first I needed to tune each string and get them close to where they needed to be. Then came the fine tuning to bring them into perfect tune. And it took work, and time. 

It couldn't be done instantly or haphazardly, but was done carefully and according to what the tuner indicated needed to be done. Again, another parallel! Our maturing in Christ must be something that we carefully and thoroughly seek and strive after, and all according to the written word of God which acts as the 'tuner' for us. For as it is written in Psalms, His Word "is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105.)

As I shared these thoughts with my Dad last evening, he brought up another point . . . and that of the humidity. If the humidity had not dropped, my fiddle would not have been nearly as out of tune as what it was. He related this to outward influences that can hinder and/or damage our walk with the Lord and can lead us away from a walk of loving obedience to God. If we had been proactive and had been humidifying the air in anticipation of the humidity falling, the tuning wouldn't have been nearly as much of an issue.

Yet again, a parallel for us . . . if we are proactive, if we examine and test the things that come into our lives, if we hold "fast the faithful word" (Titus 1:9), if we continue in studying and applying the Scriptures, if we continue in striving to grow and obey, if we continue in prayer and seeking the Lord, these negative influences will have much less of an impact upon us. Or, aspects of them may become non-existent.

This all brings to mind a passage of Scripture that has been running through my mind quite a bit the past week or so . . .

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word" (Psalm 119:9.)

It is through His word that we cleanse our way, and are able to become and stay 'in tune' with Him. The Psalm continues on to share:

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee . . . I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways. I will delight myself in Thy statutes: I will not forget Thy word(Psalm 119: 11, 15-16.)

Oh, how very important and necessary His word is!

"The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
the judgments of the LORD are true, they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
in keeping them, there is great reward."
Psalm 19:7-11

-Posted by Sarah

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Few Verses to Share

When reading my Bible recently, the below verses spoke to my heart, and I hope that they will be an encouragement to you all as well . . .

"Though the fig tree should not blossom
and there be no fruit on the vines,
though the yield of the olive should fail
and the fields should produce no food,
though the flock should be cut off from the fold
and there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength . . ."
Habakkuk 3:17-19a

-Posted by Sarah