Good To Me

When God called forth light, He looked all around and said,

“Good.”

When He separated the waters and put up the sky, He nodded and said,

“Hmmm….good.”

When the Lord brought up land from the seas, and caused plants to grow, He said,

“Oh…that’s good.”

When the Creator designed the stars, sun and moon, He smiled and said,

“Ah….also good.”

When He fashioned birds for the air and fish for the sea, He surveyed it all and said,

“My goodness, that’s good.”

When Jehovah formed creatures according to their kinds, He was pleased and said,

“Again, these are good.”

But when the Father made man and woman, He was especially delighted and said,

“Now…oh yes… This.  This is very good.”

good

This week, I have been aware of God’s goodness following me everywhere.

Even when I’ve felt

completely inadequate, totally insignificant, and wholly undeserving,

His goodness hounds my steps.

As a child created in His image, I have the capacity to recognize goodness.

God is good.

This week, this is my story.  This is my song.

“Good To Me” by Audrey Assad

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”         Psalm 23:6

31 Days of Questions: Day 26

26 also

“Why are you sleeping?”  Luke 22:46

Because it’s the only day I get to sleep in.

Why are you sleeping?

Because I stayed up too late last night.

Why are you sleeping?

Because I work hard all week.

Why are you sleeping?

Because church is boring.

Why are you sleeping?

“The world is sleeping in the dark that the church just can’t fight
‘Cause it’s asleep in the light.
How can you be so dead, when you’ve been so well fed?
Jesus rose from the grave and you, you can’t even get out of bed.
Jesus rose from the dead, come on, get out of your bed!”

Keith Green, “Asleep in the Light” 1978

31 Days of Questions: Day 17

17

“Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” Luke 17:17

Ten men

stood at a distance

and called out in a loud voice.

They went and were cleansed.

One man

fell at Jesus’ feet

and praised God in a loud voice.

He came back and was healed.

All ten had faith, only one had gratitude.

May my call for help from a distance

draw me to Your feet with praise.

May the intensity of my thanks

match the fervency of my requests.

“Thank You” by Hillsong Live

31 Questions

Jesus Loves Me

red chairI remember sitting on a little red chair in a Sunday school classroom with Carol and Sharon and Duane and Tom.  We were in the basement of the Methodist church in a town with a population of 679.

Mrs. Bickford played the big upright piano.  We sang “Deep and Wide”, “Zacchaeus”, and “The B-I-B-L-E”.  But we always ended with “Jesus Loves Me”.

There’s something about those three words — they never get old.

That’s why I’ve been singing this new recording by Chris Tomlin all week.

I still need to hear this truth.

Jesus Loves Me.

Pure gospel.

This week, this is my song:

“Jesus Loves Me” by Chris Tomlin

Here’s My Heart

heart

It’s a dangerous prayer.

“Here’s my heart, Lord.  Speak what is true.”

That kind of prayer is an open invitation to the God who knows all, sees all, hears all.

Here’s my heart, Lord.

It’s opening the deepest part of me for His examination.

Speak what is true.

It’s listening to His diagnosis and the prognosis for my neurosis.

While it’s true that I am loved and I am redeemed and I am hidden with Christ in God,

it’s also true that I am controlling and I am selfish and I am anxious.

Thankfully, God speaks the Truth about Himself as well:

“I, the Lord, am strong.

I am sure.

I am good.

I am true.”

This week, David Crowder and I are singing this song:

Christ Be All Around Me

Christ beside me

When the alarm on my phone goes off in the wee hours of the morning, a song starts playing next to my pillow:

“As I rise, strength of God, go before, lift me up.

As I wake, eyes of God, look upon, be my sight.”

Before I’m fully awake, I need this prayer.  Negative thoughts, worries, and bad attitudes can attack me before my feet even hit the floor.

Then I stumble into my office, light a candle and open up my Bible.

“As I wait, heart of God, satisfy and sustain.

As I hear, voice of God, lead me on, be my guide.”

Some days, as my blurry eyes focus on the Word, it jumps out and grabs me by the neck.  Other days, I just look at God and He just looks at me. Both satisfy and sustain.

Then I move into the day with all the lists and obligations and duties.

“As I go, hand of God, my defense, by my side.”

By evening, I am happy to rejoin my pillow and whisper a vesper prayer.

“As I rest, breath of God, fall upon, bring me peace.”

This song has carried me through many, many days.  Many, many moments.

“Your life, Your death, Your blood was shed for every moment.”

I started listening to the music of “All Sons and Daughters” three years ago.  When I needed a reason to sing, I put “Reason to Sing” on repeat.  When I felt poor and powerless, I kept “All the Poor and Powerless” on top of my playlist.  I love their music.  I love their lyrics.

This duo doesn’t know it, but they need me.  I add a third harmony part to their songs every morning in the shower.  Duets are great, but in my opinion, three part harmony is glorious.

I guess I’ll leave well enough alone and keep them by my pillow for now.

This week, this is my song:

Written by Leeland and Michael W. Smith.  Recorded by Leslie Jordan and David Leonard.

It Is Not Death to Die

it is not death

The title caught my eye.  “It Is Not Death to Die” — what an intriguing phrase.  I jotted the words down on a slip of torn-off notebook paper and stuck it in my pocket.  When pondering a thought, that’s what I do.  I seem to need to carry ideas in my pocket for awhile.  They roost in there, like a hen on her eggs, waiting for an insight to hatch.

Through the morning I argued with the short sentence that captured my thoughts.  Of course dying is death, I say to the paper in my pocket.  The final exhale, the last look before closing the eyes, the heartbeat halted — that’s death.  That’s what it is to die.  Right?

In the afternoon I had to know more.  A little research revealed the origin of the words.  In 1832, 60 year old Henri Abraham Cesar Malan wrote a hymn titled, “Non, Ce N’est Pas Mourir”.  Fifteen years later, George Bethune translated the French lyrics into English and the song found it’s way into 126 hymnals.  One hundred and sixty years later, Sovereign Grace Music recorded the hymn with a new tune.  I think Henri would approve.

By the evening, I was sitting at my piano singing a song that made its way from my pocket to my heart.  I got it.  Dying is not death in the sense that there is nothing more but blackness and non-existence.  Paul said that to be away from the body is to be at home with the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:8)  Jesus said, “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)

It is life to die — more life than we can fathom.

The best of everything is yet to come.

This week, this is my song:

It Is Not Death to Die, Sovereign Grace Music

The Secret of Life

“The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”  James Taylor

So that’s it.

The secret, according to JT, is finding joy in each part of life —

acknowledging its passing,

without fighting against the natural movement of time.

It’s a secret because not many of us get it.

I’ve spent many days trying to push through to a more promising tomorrow.

Other days, I cling to a past that has come and gone.

Lately, God’s been whispering secrets in my ear,

singing James Taylor lyrics into my heart.

He says, “Time passes, but find the joy in it.”

“Since we’re only here for awhile, we might as well show some style.”

My highest goal in life was to see my children through their growing years and witness them launching out on their own.  Losing my mother at a young age, I wanted more than anything to spare my kids that pain.  Now they are all married, established, on their own.

As I told a friend, “The rest is just frosting on the cake!”

She responded, “There is  A LOT of frosting for you, my friend!”

So there is a new phase on the horizon.

I get more days.  Frosting days.

“Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill,

but since we’re on our way down,

we might as well enjoy the ride.”

It’s a lovely ride.

This is my story.

This is my song: