A Necessary Part of Ourselves

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“Scripture does more than give us permission to express our sadness; it considers grieving
losses as central to our spiritual growth… To deny sadness is like trying to deny an arm or a leg;
it is to amputate a vital and necessary part of ourselves.” – Geri Scazzero


Psalm 77

“I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?
Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.’
Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”

Hearts In Pieces

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Hearts In Pieces

Was just me and a book
in my small kitchen nook
when the sun cast a ray
over me as I shook

Light turned to dark
hearts were in mourning
and suddenly thoughts
of loss without warning

Stories emerged of special lives
teachers and nurses, and husbands and wives
of heroic deeds, and self-sacrifice
of those who passed and of those who survived

To the mothers and brothers and sisters and daughters
the spouses, grandparents, grandchildren, sons, fathers
the nephews, the friends, the cousins, the nieces
to all those affected, whose hearts are in pieces

When the sun comes up, we wake with you
we mourn your loss and ache with you
pray comfort, you can take with you
know the stories of courage grew our hearts too

-kb


“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

From A Long Way Off

merciful-father-2629952__480Something I have been thinking about a lot lately is how God in the Old Testament (OT) sometimes seems different from the God Jesus came to make known.  I know that He is not different because God does not change…“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).  The Bible also reveals that Jesus is God…“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation” (Colossians 1:15), and that He is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  So why does it seem like God was more stern in the OT, whereas Jesus makes familiar a God of love, patience, mercy, and forgiveness?  First, I need to say that the OT is not without examples of the love and forgiveness of God…I just get more insight into the gentleness of God, in Jesus.  So this is a question I will continue to ask God about.  But one thing I do know.  I know that God is love…“God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).  And I have experienced His love first hand, when at times I have acted less than loving toward Him and He has made it known to me, whether it was through something I read, something someone said, or just a reassuring thought, that He was still there and was present with me.  Through Jesus, God forgives us our shortcomings and not only that, but like the prodigal son, He sees us from a “long way off” and is “filled with compassion” (Luke 15:20).

Being Still and Knowing

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Have you ever woken up feeling anxious about the state of the world?  If so, Psalm 46 is a good one to read.  It reaffirms God’s sovereignty and His continual presence.  It also includes a truth that is helpful in countering every worry…

“Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation.  I will be honored throughout the world.”- Psalm 46:10

From Seed to Stalk

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Seed to Stalk

I saw you shoot from soil to sky
So little I knew of the you still inside
That one day you’d flower
that your stalks would reach high
So little I knew of your special design

I saw you flourish, then one day you stopped
Your pieces changed color ’til some parts, they dropped
the earth below you seemed hard as a rock
Then suddenly life in a place it was not

I saw you move as soon as you knew
that you had a home, and quickly you grew
almost out of the pot you came home in, it’s true
And the more that you grew, the more beautiful you

It’s from God, is it not?  You, from seed to stalk?
The flowers that bloom, and the new life in spots?
The reason we grow almost out of our pots?
‘Cause we now know Home, with His life, has been bought.

– kb

“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” – 1 Corinthians 3:7

The Gentleness of God

dove-2347043__480Nearly every day I hear the sound of a dove cooing outside of our window, and each time I hear it, I am reminded of when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus “like a dove” (Luke 3:21-22).  In the book of Matthew, Jesus referred to doves as “harmless” (Matthew 10:16).  So the Spirit of God took on the appearance of a harmless creature as He fell on Jesus.  God is powerful, as we see in the story of the parting of the Red Sea.  He is the Creator of all things and has dominion over all things.  As He reminds Job, He “laid the foundations of the earth” and “kept the sea inside its boundaries”  (Job 38:4, 8).  At the same time, through His Spirit, God chose to appear in the form of harmless dove at Jesus’ baptism.  I’m glad that although God Has the ability to move mountains, He also places value in the gentle, harmless way of a dove.

“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” – Psalm 18:35

When on the Cross

cross-66700__480When on the cross, Jesus saw His mom standing next to one of His disciples and said, “Dear woman, here is your son.”  He then looked at His disciple and said, “Here is your mother.”  The Bible says that “from then on this disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27)  When on the cross, people gambled for Jesus’ clothes while others mocked Him, and Jesus prayed for them to be forgiven.  As Jesus hung between two criminals that day, one of them asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom, and Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:32-43)  Even when on the cross, Jesus made provision for His mom, He prayed for His persecutors, and He guaranteed life with Him to a dying man.  The actions of a loving Messiah.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:17

 

Every Single Tear

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EVERY SINGLE TEAR
She says God wasn’t there during the difficult times,
and I didn’t live hers, so it throws me
I look beyond, around, behind
to lock hearts with the One who grows me
I know other souls in tragic times
saw Jesus standing there
When in dark places, where no light shined,
they felt Him ever near
It was the sparkle on the water,
the eyes where scales fell
the near death and, “I saw Him!”
a lit up prison cell
So why did she not see You
It troubles me to hear
I know that with her, You were
cupped every single tear
– kb
                             
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” – Psalm 34:18

Jairus, the Woman, and the Crowd

religious-2144550__480In the Bible there’s a story about a synagogue leader (Jairus) who seeks Jesus out to ask Him if He will accompany him to his home and heal his daughter who is dying.  On the way to Jairus’ house, a messenger arrives to tell them that his daughter has died.  Jesus tells Jairus not to be afraid, to have faith, and that his daughter would be healed.  At the same time, a woman who had been suffering with “constant bleeding” for over a decade approached Jesus and touched the edge of His robe in the hopes that her health would be restored.  Her bleeding stopped immediately.  When Jesus arrived at Jairus’ home, he found a crowd that had gathered and was beginning to mourn the young girl’s death.  Jesus told them to stop weeping, that she wasn’t dead, and that she would be healed.  The crowd laughed.  Jesus took the girl’s hand, told her to get up, and she did.  Jairus and the woman approached Jesus with humility and childlike trust, whereas the crowd laughed at Jesus’ declaration that the girl would be well again.  I am assuming that some in the crowd must have had a change of heart after they saw Jesus’ miracle, but were there others in the crowd who didn’t?  If so, they missed out on a relationship with not only the One Who loves them most in this world, but in experiencing first hand, Immanuel, “God With Us.”

“Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, “My Child, get up!”  And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up!” – Luke 8:54-55