Day 20: Though you ruin me

not_meaningless

My words fail me tonight. My thoughts are jumbled. My intentions for this post have blown away.

It seems that this has been a season of things being taken away. And some days I can trust in God and carry on, doing whatever needs to be done next.

Other days, much like today, I collapse into a puddle of tears.

And so, this is what I need to hear today. Perhaps you do, too.

Listen as Shane and Shane sing:

Though you slay me, yet I will praise you
Though you take from me, I will bless your name
Though you ruin me, still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need.

Not only is all your affliction momentary; not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. But it is totally meaningful…don’t say it’s meaningless. It’s not. It’s working for you an eternal weight of glory. Therefore. Therefore, do not lose heart. — John Piper

UPDATE: Dear friends, I realized from some of the comments (thank you for commenting, BTW!) that perhaps a little clarification is in order. I am not despairing. When I wrote this, I was tired, discouraged and a bit worn thin, but I shared it all to say, yes, sometimes it does get difficult, but holding onto hope in Christ is the only way through. If you’re worn and barely holding on, I get it, but don’t let go of God. Don’t lose heart. Love to you all,
Janice

Part of the #write31days series:
crushing your kingdoms

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Day 14: Hear our hearts cry out

I’m just going to put this right here.

Seriously, though, this song by Vertical Church Band recently shuffled into play on my iPod and I ended up listening to it about five times in a row. From the first word, the focus is solely on worshiping God. I love that. Please listen to it. I think you’ll like it, too.

Holy, Holy, You are God Almighty
And You reign victorious over all the earth
Holy, Holy, You are God Almighty
Yes, You reign victorious over all the earth

Let Your Kingdom come, and Your will be done
Here on earth as it is in heaven
And to Your renown hear our hearts cry out
Singing “Holy is the Lord”

God of Glory see Your victory story
In the lives of those who gather at the cross
Rock of ages be adorned with praises
As Your people raise their voice in thanks and love

Focus with me on the true kingdom right now. Hear our hearts cry out – Holy is the Lord!
Do you have a favorite song that focuses your heart on worship of our God?

crushing your kingdoms

We’re continuing to work through the series this month. Click here to view all the posts in the series.

 

His Peerless Worth

This song has been on repeat for the last day. Different bits of the lyrics hit me each time.

…Joyful choose the better part…

…Let his peerless worth constrain thee…

…What can strip the seeming beauty from the idols of the earth?…the sight of peerless worth…

It’s so easy to focus on things of this world, even good things, and take our eyes off that which is peerless worth. God is beyond compare. There is none comparable; no one to be considered his peer.

And suddenly the things that have occupied my time and attention seem flat and shallow compared to his peerless worth. Soak in that as you listen to this song.

 

Hast thou heard Him, seen Him, known Him?
Is not thine a captured heart?
Chief among ten thousand own Him;
Joyful choose the better part.

Captivated by His beauty,
Worthy tribute haste to bring;
Let His peerless worth constrain thee,
Crown Him now unrivaled King.

What can stripped the seeming beauty
From the idols of the earth?
Not a sense of right or duty,
But the sight of peerless worth.

’Tis that look that melted Peter,
’Tis that face that Stephen saw,
’Tis that heart that wept with Mary,
Can alone from idols draw.

peerlessworth

Day 13: Rest from Idolatry to Worship

Ps_122_glad

Has your soul felt rest today?

It was wonderful to be in Karis Church worshiping the Lord with my brothers and sisters.

The sermon focused on idolatry (Exodus 32:1-33:6), which tied in well with my post from yesterday about cracked pedestals. The gist of the sermon was roughly this:  like the gold-powdered water that Moses made the Israelites drink in that passage, idolatry leaves us with a bitter taste. But Jesus calls us away from idolatry to worship.

There were a lot of great points, which, unfortunately, I couldn’t get down fast enough, but I did note one quote from Tim Keller:

Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves.  Joy-based repentance makes us hate our sin.

Cool stuff, eh? I highly encourage you to listen to the sermon, by a Karis Church deacon, Billy Glosson. You can either listen online or download the mp3.

How have you been learning to rest this month?

Ps_84_lovely_dwelling_place

Today is Day 13 of 31 Days of Rest.

Day 9: Rest in Wonder

At 5:15 this morning, I was shivering slightly in a long sleeve tee and yoga pants, gazing up at the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, and other constellations, waiting for my walking partner to arrive. And even then, we both took a moment to breathe out wonder at the stars sparkling brightly in the pre-dawn sky before beginning our walk.

The night sky has mesmerized me since childhood, but never passionately until I left home in the big city to attend college in a southern town on the edge of a mountain. In minutes you could be miles from city lights and the stars seemed to leap out at you from the Milky Way above.

It’s been a dream of mine to own a telescope ever since I got to view the moon, craters and all, from a friend’s telescope. The detail shocked and delighted me. After that, I bought a book about the constellations and how to watch the stars using my binoculars. It kind of became my thing, especially in one place we lived – every time the girls would get together at night, I’d bring my book and binoculars and we’d lie out on a tennis court or picnic table, sharing about our lives while we watched the stars. When time came to move from that community, we made a pact that we’d think of each other whenever we saw Cassiopeia. That happened this morning, even though I’ve lost touch with all but one of those gals.

So, if you haven’t guessed, I’m pretty crazy about the stars. 😛

English: Golf ball.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The wild thing about beginning to look into the expanse of the heavens above us, is that you start to grasp just how small you are. Take time to watch these videos by Louis Giglio, that I call, If the Earth were the Size of a Golf Ball. It’s unfortunately split into two videos.

Part 1:  Skip ahead to 6:31. The first 6 minutes are not part of the golf ball illustration.

Part 2: Hang in there to the end on this one. There’s a parade of planets and stars beginning at 5:39 that visually blows the mind and then the wrap up really makes you stop and wonder.

I do love the line in Part 2, where he says,

It’s not just twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. I’m telling you what you are, and what you are is intense and huge and massive and ferocious, is what you are.

We serve a crazy big God. The words escape me to try to describe how big the God is who created these massive stars. I’m not even talking about size big, but power big.

Come back down to your spot on the golf ball. Though we are tiny and frail, we have been created in the image of this Creator God. We have been fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wow. Rest in wonder and amazement and worship, my friend.

You can find all the posts related to this series here:
31Days_Rest_thumb

Day 6: Rest in the Beauty of Creation

Sometimes rest is found by dwelling on beautiful things. For this Sunday, I want to share some of the gorgeous scenery I used to live in, near, and around.

Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, from Shenandoah Valley:

Photo credit: Hamiltonl at en.wikipedia (Creative Commons)

Fall foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway:

Photo credit: abi.bhattachan via flickr (Creative Commons)

Why the North Carolina/Virginia/West Virginia mountains are called the Blue Ridge Mountains:

Photo credit: BlueRidgeKitties via flickr (Creative Commons)

As I pulled these photos, I was reminded of Psalm 1 and it seems fitting to rest on these words:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

See how that ties in with these beautiful images? The man or woman, whose delight is in the Lord, will be like a tree, yielding fruit in season and not withering, walking uprightly and meditating on the law of God continually.

Rest in this today.

31Days_Rest_thumb ←Click to find links to each day in the series.

I’m only one of 1500+ blogs participating in the Nester’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. Stop by to read some other great posts.

Day 5: Sabbath Rest

Sabbath

I had the amazing opportunity to go to Israel in 1996 with my Mom and, like, 998 other people – we were part of a 1,000 voice choir singing in various historic places around Jerusalem as part of the 3000 anniversary of Jerusalem being named the capital of Israel by King David. NBD. Okay, it was awesome.

One of the minor details that stuck with me was the bank of elevators in our hotel. It was a huge hotel with four towers of rooms, and I think I remember 8 elevators in the main wing. But one elevator was labeled a Shabbat elevator, with a note that indicated it would stop at every floor during Shabbat. Shabbat is the Hebrew word for Sabbath.

What this meant is that during the hours of Sabbath, the elevator would automatically stop for each floor, so that an Orthodox Jew observing Shabbat would not have to push a button, which could be considered work (or the using of electricity could create a tiny spark which is the equivalent of kindling a fire or the electricity could close a circuit as equal to building something), which is not allowed during Shabbat.

Now, I don’t say all this to go into debate about whether or not an elevator should be used. But one reason the elevator stuck in my mind is because the Jewish people remember the command. They observe Sabbath – a ceasing of work, a remembering, a resting.

I was really excited to find out that Aarik Danielsen will be preaching this Sunday on the Sabbath, not the verse from the 10 Commandments, but later on, Exodus 31:12-18.

12 And the Lord said to Moses, 13 “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you. Everyone who profanes it shall be put to death. Whoever does any work on it, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. 16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”

18 And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

Now I want to be honest and say that when I first planned out this series on rest, I did not even think about the Sabbath. But this passage clearly indicates a day of solemn rest that is holy to the Lord.

I know Aarik has put hours of study into preparing for Sunday’s sermon, part of our Set Free series in Karis Church, so I’m not even going to go further with this post. I just wanted you to start thinking about the Sabbath and rest, as I did when I heard about the sermon. I’ll have a follow-up post where I share some things I learned and link to the audio from the sermon.

Praying you have a restful Sunday.
Blessings.

31Days_Rest_thumb ←Click to find links to each day in the series.

I’m one of 1500+ blogs participating in the Nester’s 31 Day Blog Challenge.

What Do You Worship?

Peanut Butter Co. Dark Chocolate DreamsI was looking forward to finding out the Five Minute Friday prompt tonight. I even made time to jump into the #FMFParty on Twitter, which was fun, if a little head-spinning. I likened it to pulling into a busy, multi-lane roundabout. So, tonight’s FMFParty chatter centered around chocolate, Nutella and Dark Chocolate Dreams, which is by far better than Nutella.

—–

I love good chocolate. Savoring the good stuff is the best way for me to enjoy it. Much like fine wine, it’s the enjoyment and noticing every little nuance that’s the key.

When I lived in Virginia. I couldn’t get enough of the mountains. I loved every little view of them that jumped out at me as I drove around town.

Lately, I’ve been taken with the clouds. They are constantly changing in mid-Missouri and I love watching them.

These and more are things that I enjoy in life. I want to snatch up every little bit. Savor it. Enjoy it.

Is this my worship? Do I worship the clouds and mountains and chocolate? Is that the end all, be all?

Never.

It is the One who made the earth and sky and sea. Who drew breath in man and gave him the creativity to figure out how to get that delectable treat out of a cocoa bean. Lord, God, Creator. It is He who I worship when I savor and enjoy things in the world around me. He gets the glory and honor.

——

Ah, tip of the iceberg. Tip. of. the. iceberg. So, what, or rather, who do you worship?

This is a song for the suffering – but it’s really a song of worship, worship through suffering, with an excerpt from a sermon by John Piper – check it out when you can.

Join me with Lisa-Jo and the Five Minute Friday community at (in)courage this week for more posts on the prompt, Worship.

With my soul – it must be well

It is Well with My Soul

Photo credit: and12ey (Creative Commons)

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot
Thou hast taught me to say
It is well; it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet
Though trials should come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And has shed his own blood for my soul.

It is well with my soul;
It is well with my soul;
It is well; it is well with my soul.

We sang this in Karis a month ago. By the second chorus I had tears rolling down my face and could no longer sing.

At times I feel so miserable in my life and yet I don’t know what it means to suffer like Horatio Spafford, the author of the song.

Do you know the story behind this song? Delayed by business concerns, Horatio put his wife and children on a boat to Europe ahead of him. A shipwreck, then a rescue, led to Horatio receiving this telegram from his wife: Saved alone. All of their daughters died in the shipwreck. As Horatio crossed the Atlantic to join his wife in Europe, he wrote this song.

If he, and so many others like him, can face losses like that and still glorify God, what excuse do I have? How can I not say, ‘it is well my soul?’

It must be well with my soul, even though I feel terrible.

It must be well.

It has to be well.

Christ shed his blood for me and my sin…

oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Has been nailed to the cross
And I bear it no more
Praise the Lord – PRAISE THE LORD! – Oh, my soul!

This morning, my cousin, his wife, my mom and I will sing this at my Aunt Ruth’s funeral service. Because Aunt Ruth believed Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead, we know she is in heaven and that those of us who also believe will see her again one day. In that day, there will be no more tears, or sorrow, or death.

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound
And the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well.

It must be well.

It has to be well.

It is well with my soul.

This comforts me in the anguish of my soul. May it also comfort and encourage you.

The wedding of all weddings

photo credit: Leanna Grove

photo credit: Leanna Grove

Christmas is coming?

True, but there’s a more exciting event happening this weekend. The wedding everyone has been talking about.

Brooke & Nick tie the knot.

What?

You haven’t been following this celebrity couple’s wedding plans? You’re missing out.

But the hoopla about to happen this weekend isn’t just about two crazy kids getting hitched. It’s way bigger. (more…)

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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