Just As We Are

Tonight, words are few. I’ll be honest – my kids are loud, my house needs a ferocious cleaning, and there are all manner of things on my to-do list that I have not yet gotten done today.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has their share of distractions…I’m sure there are those of us, too,  who would raise our hand to say – my heart is heavy, my mind is too full, my shoulders are feeling weighed down with everything I’m trying to carry or the problems I wish I could solve.

If you’re raising your hand to say ‘me, too’ —

The psalmist says again and again, at different times and in different ways – I cried out to the Lord and He heard me. He helped me. He healed me. He delivered me. He rescued me. Out of His great love, He lifts me out of every dark place and even the deepest pit.

That’s for us, too. That’s for me. That’s for you. When we surrender our pride and our expectations and our try-hard and our figure-it-out  — we are free to cry out to Him and put our hearts in His hands, to have these promises as realities: “weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning…You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”-Psalm 30: 5, 11-12

Don’t wait for things to get easier. Don’t wait to make yourself ‘presentable’ or for the ‘perfect’ quiet time…now, in the middle of the noise and the chaos – in the middle of the heartache and the questions – in the middle of everything…go to our Savior and let it all fall at His feet. Surrender every bit of it, because He loves us so much that He wants to bear our burdens. He is already praying for us. He is our safest place. He is our peace. He wants to give joy and comfort, strength and rest. Find Him there, at the throne of mercy. When we surrender ourselves, just as we are,  and lift our eyes to Him…we find arms-wide-open-welcome.

“How great the love, how strong the hand that holds us.”

 

 

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“Come and See What Love Has Done…”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” –Luke 2:13-14

“What shall I say to you; what shall I tell you? I behold a mother who has brought forth new life; I see a child come to this light by birth. The manner of his conception I cannot comprehend. Nature is overcome, the boundaries of the established order set aside, where God so wills. For not according to nature has this thing come to pass. Nature here has rested, while the will of God labored. O, ineffable grace! The only begotten One, who is before all ages, who cannot be touched or be perceived, who is simple, without body, has now put on my body, which is visible and liable to corruption. For what reason? That coming amongst us he may teach us, and teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that we mortals cannot see. For since we believe that the eyes are more trustworthy than the ears, we doubt that which they do not see, and so he has deigned to show himself in bodily presence, that he may remove all doubt…

What shall I say! And how shall I describe this birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of Days has become an infant. He who sits upon the sublime and heavenly throne now lies in a manger. And he who cannot be touched, who is without complexity, incorporeal, now lies subject to human hands. He who has broken the bonds of sinners is now bound by an infant’s bands. But he has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and abject humiliation the measure of his goodness. For this he assumed my body, that I may become capable of his word; taking my flesh, he gives me his spirit; and so bestowing and I receiving, he prepares for me the treasure of life. He takes my flesh to sanctify me; he gives me his Spirit, that he may save me.

Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken. For this day paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused and spread on every side – a heavenly way of life has been implanted on the earth…

Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He has come on earth, while being fully in heaven; and while complete in heaven, he is without diminution on earth. Though he was God, he became man, not denying himself to be God. Though being the unchanging Word, he became flesh that he might dwell amongst us.

What shall I say? What shall I utter?

‘Behold an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.'”

–St. John Chrysostom, from the essay ‘The Mystery’

Choosing Him

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Today we have a choice. And I hope that we choose adoration over anxiety, worship over worry.

I hope we choose to remember that He is always stronger, always bigger, always the God who overcomes.

This is how His joy becomes our strength, how His grace sustains us. This is where He gives peace. This is where we live by faith and not by emotion or what we can see.

Today, we choose trust. We choose joy. We choose gratitude. We choose truth.

We choose praise.

The Well (Music Monday)

I hope that you are encouraged by JJ Heller’s words about finding all that we need in God…and the song that she wrote to so wonderfully remind us of this truth.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”-John 4:13-14

Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”-John 7:37-38

“There is a river, there is a fountain
Deep enough for every soul…
You are the well that never runs dry.”

O Come to the Altar (Music Monday)

Tonight, at the end of this long day, I just want to remind you that our God is with us. Sometimes we need to take a moment to lift up our hearts in worship so that we can remind our souls of who He is and the steadfast love He has toward us.

When we feel frustrated or lonely, when we are distracted and busy, when we want to hide our hearts away, when we struggle with pain or sin — these are the moments we need to remember to run into His presence, where we find consolation and strength. It is at His feet, hearts surrendered, that we receive grace and the help we need.

May we remember, all over again, how our Savior gave Himself for us…may we remember, all over again, that we face every new day in the power of His Spirit and His never-failing love.

O come to the altar…the Father’s arms are open wide. Forgiveness was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. 

Oh, what a Savior – isn’t He wonderful? Sing Hallelujah – Christ is risen! Bow down before Him for He is Lord of all…Sing Hallelujah – Christ is risen!

Let it be Jesus {Music Monday}

No other can be our ‘song in the storm’, our shield, our sure salvation, our freedom, our righteousness, our hope…

So, yes, let it be His name – the only name by which we are saved – that defines our purpose, the story of our lives now and forever.

Yes, let this be: for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  (Phil. 1:21)

Let it be, let it be Jesus. 

“First Coming” {poetry&music for your Monday}

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First Coming

He did not wait till the world was ready,
Till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
And prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine. He did not wait

till hearts were pure. In joy he came
to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane,
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
—Madeleine L’Engle

(Image: Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent Van Gogh)