Tag Archives: Lord

Quietly Waiting for the Salvation of the Lord

Fence with rain“Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not Thy law.”
Ps 119:136

To start the New Year, our pastor called us to a fast.  The emphasis is on revival.

My heart cries for our nation and the darkness that has increasingly ensued.  My soul weeps for the hardened hearts of lost loved ones.  They need revival.

However, God has reminded me during the fast that I need revival, too.  Rather than focus only on the desperate condition of others, He asks that I remember from whence I came.  Apart from Christ’s shed blood for me, I am a wretched sinner. 

God also wants me to remember that He is no respecter of persons.  What He has done for one, He’ll surely do for another.  Doing so brings me renewed hope for my nation and those I love.  Because of Him, I will keep on crying out for revival in my life and others.  I will press on in believing that God is able.

I will both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of The Lord.

“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:22-26

Sue Nash/2014

 

Photo Contest Announcement ~ Upside Down Happy Face

Upside Down Happy FaceLast week, I wrote about my participation in a photo contest.  I found out this past Monday that I lost.  I did not even get an honorable mention.  It gave me an upside down happy face.

I do not pretend to have professional photography talent, but had hoped to at least place.

Because of my issues with lack of confidence, I also do not handle disappointment well.  I have had some past endeavors that proved disastrous, and failure tends to shake one’s confidence like nothing else.  Although I am not a failure, I have failed many times at things that I have tried.

Haven’t we all had similar experiences, though, where we failed at doing something we hoped would have a favorable outcome?

Failure and disappointments are a part of living.  They are a part of the world system.

Thankfully, God does not measure success by the world’s standards.  He enjoys having us explore new talents and trying new things.  Every new venture, even if it does not work out, is an avenue of learning something and an opportunity to grow.  God doesn’t view our efforts as failures; He sees them as opportunities of fine-tuning, much like a violinist warming up for a symphony.

If I had won a prize in the contest, my husband and I would have enjoyed staying in a B&B somewhere along the Natchez Trace.  It also would have validated my efforts with photography.

But God did not give me this love of taking pictures to impress others, or as a goal of winning contests.  He instilled this interest in me as an avenue of capturing the grandeur of His creation, and sharing the beauty of His handiwork.

Knowing that God gave me this love of photography, and that it pleases Him when I use it for His glory, changes my sad face to what it should be ~ a right-side-up happy one.

Happy Face“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
Colossians 3:17

BTW – the winners of the contest had some lovely shots, as seen on this link to:
Natchez Trace Travel

*My favorite is the one by Sybil Knox, Milepost 310, taken 11/16/13.

Blessings,
Sue Nash

Singing Off the Wall ~ Finding Balance With Worship Styles

Singing Off the Wall

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Romans 12:10
NLT

You’ve probably seen it too.  Churches splitting over the style of worship songs.  One group likes only contemporary, but the other prefers hymns.

The newer music increasingly dominates.  Hymnals are becoming outdated, replaced instead by words projected by PowerPoint on large screens on the walls.  A practice my dad appropriately nicknamed, singing off the wall.

Some churches try to solve the dispute by having different services for the types of songs. The early am crowd gets traditional and the later rocks to the new.

However, are alternate services, based on worship styles preferences, the answer?
Don’t they by default lead to division?  Sadly, separate worship services rarely fix anything.  The partitioned music preferences only widen divisions in local fellowships. 

What is the solution, then?  Do we develop an all or nothing approach, where only one type is used?

I don’t have any expert musical training on the matter, just an opinion.  But I base it on discussions that I have had with both camps, through casual conversations over the years.

Here is what I’ve learned:

The Older Style Worship Camp

Those wanting hymns are mostly the middle-aged to elderly.  Even though I knew that already, I discovered something that surprised me.

Most are not totally opposed to the new.  Instead, they simply ask that since their generation is an equally important part of the body of Christ, the music they love be incorporated.  And when sung, that the hymns not be changed, but kept as written, arguing, ‘Why fix something that is not broken?’

A compelling argument.

The Contemporary Style Worship Camp

The contemporary camp is quick to elaborate why they think the new is better.  They point out that in the newer music, we are singing directly to God; however, in the old hymns, the emphasis is on singing about the Lord. 

A point well made. 

Also, many in the newbie camp are open to the older music, but just prefer changing it to a more contemporary beat, and adding new bridges.

Unfortunately, the hymn issue takes us right back to the drawing board in unifying the two groups.

Finding Balance Between the Two Styles

I don’t agree with segregating churches into worship style camps.  As I mentioned above, I think that it only fuels division.  Instead, why not a workable solution that honors both?  A blend of both styles, and ideally at every service.

For the elderly, try having at least one original hymn and keep it as written.  If there still is an avenue of providing hymnals, have these songs sung from a page number out of a book, and not off the wall! 

This may seem like appeasement toward one disgruntled group, but there are certainly Scriptural grounds for honoring our elders.  Besides, there is a generation of young people desperately in need of the truths found in the hymns.

Another option is to have regular times of highlighting the elderly singing solos and/or playing hymns during the services.  There is something so moving about hearing an aging member passionately sing an original hymn.

We also cannot discard the contemporary.  To disregard the new music is like telling God that He no longer inspires.  Even the hymns were controversial when first written.  We must allow for the new.  Churches that completely dismiss them are in error, and they typically do so at the sacrifice of their youth.

The bottom line is balance.  Out of love, we should consider the needs of each group.  There will never be a way to please everyone, but letting love be the guiding principle with any issue is always a win.

I like both styles.  I grew up with hymns, but do have a fondness for the new.  However, I agree with my dad.  I don’t think I’ll ever get used to singing off the wall.

I’d love to know ~ what’s your take on the issue?

Friday ~ Thanks

Feature FridayThank You for the cross, Lord, on which You died.
Thank You for the hope that in You we find.
Thank You for Your presence in which we can abide.
Thank You for Your arms of love open wide.

Anyone else amazed at how fast this year is going?  Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before we know it.

Even though Thanksgiving is when we officially set aside a day for gratitude, it is never too early to give thanks.  In fact, we should offer gratitude to the Lord every day for all that He has done. 

Join me in giving thanks.  Let’s celebrate thanks-giving in September!

I started us off with my poem.  Now it is you turn to share something for which you are grateful.

Elizabeth ~ A Special Gem

Elizabeth framedToday, my mother-in-law would have been ninety-eight.   We miss you, Elizabeth!

She was my mother-in-law, but before that, a dear friend.
We had much in common; like me, she was an RN.
One of my favorite memories was the year she became my traveling European companion.
That prior closeness we shared made it very easy to choose her son as my husband.

She was a devoted wife, and cared for her husband as he suffered with his emphysema plight.
Although she loved her man, nobody messed with her kids because they were the true joy of her life.
To her three children she imparted her values, and taught them to live responsibly and right.
They never doubted her love; to repay her, when she needed them most, they all stood by her side.

She was a woman of deep faith and had a true relationship with the Lord.
That none of her children continued in their Catholic upbringing, certainly saddened her to the core.
She finally accepted their walk with God, though, so as not to let the differences bring discord.

However, she never quit proselytizing by leaving subtle hints and her church’s brochures!

She was a reserved person, but at the same time, spoke her mind as she saw fit.
Because of her quiet demeanor, however, others sometimes did dismiss.
Yet, those who took the time to know her discovered her endearing qualities and dry wit.
Soft spoken and genuine, she was the kind of person you just never forget.

She was resourceful and frugal to a fault.
Like many of her generation, she rarely discarded things she bought.
However, when you needed something, you felt sure she would have it about.
If not, she would go out of her way to order it from one of her many catalogs.

She had an amazing green thumb and many interests.
Her specialties in growing plants were shamrocks and violets.
With her many talents, like her crocheting, she blessed others with gifts.
My favorite of her talents, though, was how she could watch two soap operas at the same time, and with neither one miss a lick!

She had ageless charm and beauty; her thoughtful ways, she maintained to the end.
To those of us who loved her, we thought of her as a special gem.
Although we miss her very much, we know that we will see her again. 
What I look forward to most is when she greets me the way she always did, by asking,
Loretta Sue, how have you been?”

*Footnote- Elizabeth is the only person who ever called me by my full name.  Knowing she did so out of love, each time was special.

Sue Nash/2013

God Directs Our Steps

Photo I took along the Pacific shoreline

Photo I took along the Pacific shoreline

I love walking by the ocean.  I love the fishy smells, and the way the salty breeze warms my weariness.  I love the feel of cool water on my feet, and the sounds of the waves lapping against the shore.  Nobody has to force my steps on a sandy beach, since by the sea is where I feel most at home.

How comforting is the passage above from Proverbs, to know that since God directs our steps, we can trust Him throughout our lives.  Some may argue that this verse is suggestive of predestination on God’s part, and that as such, why bother with a life of faith.  Not at all that, this is actually a poignant reference to God’s sovereignty and love, but there are some issues inherent in it worth addressing.

God Does Not Force Our Steps

God controls the universe, but out of love gives us the choice whether to accept His guidance.  God’s ways are best, but not everyone accepts this notion.  Because of that same love, though, He goes a step further.

God Uses Circumstances to Direct Our Steps to Him

Many do not understand the message of the cross, but it is not complicated.  God sent Jesus to offer a Way back to Him.  He will use circumstances your entire life to direct you to Him.  By accepting and following Christ, we merely return to where we belong.  If really His, though, our lives will then change.

God Will Direct Us Away From Sin

Some people think that after saying a sinner’s prayer they can then go out and continue living a life of continual sin.  If God is directing, though, our lives change from pursuit of wanton pleasure to that of pleasing Him.  God will never direct someone into sin, so if wrongdoing is still rampant, there is something amiss.  This brings up yet another issue.

God Directs Us to Let Go

In the passage, there is the implication of letting go ~ and ~ letting God direct.  We cannot be in charge anymore, but need to let God lead our lives.  For many, this is where the rudder meets the wave.  In our egotistical culture, we think we can figure things out all by ourselves.  God knows this, yet still loves us and has a wonderful alternative.

God Directs In Order to Bless

Many despise the idea of giving God control, but those of us who know Him wouldn’t have it any other way.  With God at the helm, we no longer have to figure things out, but can instead trust His wisdom and understanding.  This is not at all weakness, as some suppose; rather, by yielding to God’s directing, we trade control for a blessed peace.  We can trust an infinite God, who knows the beginning from the end, to guide our ways.

The true blessing comes from knowing that with God directing our steps, they will one day walk on streets of gold on heaven’s shore.

With that in mind, what is holding you back from letting go and letting God direct?

Along the seashore,
I hear His footsteps best.
It reminds me ~
  As I follow Him,
He directs my steps

Sue Nash/2013

Proverbs Post

For similar posts, see Proverbs Post

 

God is Enough ~ How Hannah Found True Happiness

A photo I took of some wild grasses

A photo I took of some wild grasses

Some friends of ours have eight children, each home-schooled and phenomenal.  Their mother is the kind of person that always looks gorgeous and has an immaculate home.  She is so together that you just want to slap her and ask, ‘Would you stop being so perfect, already?’

I would never really slap my good friend, but instead am very proud of her.  I think she and her husband should teach Parenting 101 classes all across the nation!  I just cannot fathom the responsibility of raising so many kids.  God knew who could handle eight, so He wisely bypassed me!

For some, such as those unable to have children, you probably would not mind having eight.  You would love to have even one.

Am I not enough

Hannah understood the pain of wanting a child.  She had tried for years, but was unable.  Her husband tried to ease her emotional suffering by showing her extra love.  As a constant companion should, he went out of his way to show her that even though she could not bear a child, he still loved her.  Out of exasperation of doing everything in his power to show her unconditional love, he asked, am I not better to you than ten sons?

Sadness had so consumed Hannah, she could not respond.  She probably wondered how her husband could even understand her pain, since he already had children by the other wife.  Hannah was barren and that was all she could process.  Her husband’s love, though genuine, was not enough to overcome her sorrow.  It was not enough to soothe the festering wound of an empty womb. 

God understands our pain.  He wants us to accept His love and grace as enough.  Just as Hannah’s husband wanted her to know that he was there for her, God wants us to know that He is constantly working behind the scenes to reward us with good.  As our constant companion, who is fully able to understand our struggles, God asks of us, Am I not better to you than ten sonsThan ten of what the enemy has stolen or brokenThan ten times what you want or need.

Is God’s grace enough for us?  Or does our happiness depend on something more?

Is a son enough

Every year, Hannah went with her husband to Shiloh for their required sacrifices, but she went in anguish of soul.  Her pain seemed incurable and her sorrow unbearable, until something changed.  Like all the other trips, she entered the temple with a sorrowful heart; however, this time, she did not leave the same.  She entered broken, but this time left overjoyed.

Most agree that the likely source of Hannah’s new found joy was from her faith that God answered her prayers for a son.  At the altar, Hannah had laid bare her anguish and let completely go of her burden.  Eli, upon hearing of her heartfelt cry, confirmed to her that God would favor her with a child.  Completely confident in her promised son, Hannah left overjoyed.

However, the real reason for her joy had to go deeper; it must have been from something more.  What lasting joy could come in knowing that the very thing desired, she must soon afterwards return?  Part of her promise for a son was contingent upon Hannah’s vow to commit him back to the Lord.  A son, no doubt, but she would in essence live apart from her blessing.  If her source of joy came only in knowing she would give birth to a son, it could not possibly have sustained her against the inevitable sadness resulting from having to give back the child for which she yearned.

God is enough

More than being simply glad over the promise of a son, Hannah’s joy was a direct result of her realization that God was enough.  She reached the bottom of herself, by surrendering her sorrows completely to the Lord, and in the process found that her sufficiency was in God alone.  She cast her burden on the Lord, and He did sustain her.

How does Scripture bear record of this?  In 1 Samuel, we learn that God did open Hannah’s womb, and she gave birth to a son.  Faithful to her word, after weaning Samuel she lent him back to God for lifelong service.  She did so, not knowing if she would ever have children again.  What’s more, upon relinquishing her only child into the care of Eli, Hannah then prays a very telling prayer.  A prayer that revealed Hannah had discovered the true source of joy.

My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.
1Samuel 2: 1

Hannah had found the true source of happiness.  Having her husband’s love was not enough.  Having a son was not enough.  God alone was enough.  She got her promised child, but ultimately found that God was her truest reward.  He is the promised salvation of her soul.  God now meant more to her than even 10 sons.  Since the same God who is our reward, also loves to reward, Hannah could now believe that He might just bless her back by giving her those same 10 sons!

I love my son, but I know that I could never have handled eight.  My hat’s off to my friends!  Like for Hannah, though, my joy and sufficiency cannot be dependent on others, not even my son.  Only God can give true contentment.  Only He can sustain every burden I cast at His feet.  He is the source of true happiness.

God continues to ask each of us, Am I not better to you than 10 sons?  We may believe that He is, and even say so.  Like Hannah, though, we must show Him by surrendering our all at His feet.  The joy of God’s salvation we receive in return is better than 10 of anything!

From His Heart for blogYou can find similar posts at ~ From His Heart