Category Archives: other blogs

at the cross

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i heard a “new” song today… i’m not actually sure how “new” it is, but as soon as I heard the truth in the lyrics, I was just freshly reminded of God’s amazing grace to me.

I wasn’t able to find a video of the song online, but here are the lyrics…  and here’s the link to the artist’s website: Pocket Full of Rocks (you can listen to song samples on their website).

Dark was the stain of my sin
Ever more guilty within.
Searching for rescue where none could be found
until from that hill I heard the sound.
of mercy that triumphs over judgment,
of grace abounding greater than my sin.

At the cross, at the cross, where there’s room for me.
At the cross, at the cross, I am finally free.
At the cross, at the cross, burdens roll away.
At the cross.

Oh what a glorious plan.
God reaching down to fallen man.
To all of us broken, lost and undone
Hear no as heaven bids us come.
Find mercy that triumphs over judgment
Find grace abounding greater than our sin.

At the cross, at the cross, where there’s room for me.
At the cross, at the cross, I am finally free.
At the cross, at the cross, burdens roll away.
At the cross.

Such beauty through tragedy,
You giving your life for me
Unspeakable reverence as I bow here
with those that You’ve redeemed
We sing hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, to our King.

At the cross, at the cross, where there’s room for me.
At the cross, at the cross, I am finally free.
At the cross, at the cross, burdens roll away.
At the cross I am finally free.  I am finally free.

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i believe, help my unbelief

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I rehearse reality in my morning prayers,
And live in unreality through out the day.
With my mouth I confess,
But with my heart I retreat.

I see my wounds and not my healing.
I forget His blood and feel my bleeding.
I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief!

There is no patience in my well-doing,
And I submit myself again to that terrible yoke.
It is for freedom that I was set free,
But I content myself with slavery.

I see my wounds and not my healing.
I forget His blood and feel my bleeding.
I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief!

But God’s righteousness has come
Not as a law but as a Son—
Though I don’t yet see him on his throne,
I trust his power alone.
I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief!

Let me see your wounds my Savior, for in them lies my healing.
Cover me in your blood, to stay my feeble bleeding.
By your grace alone I believe; complete this work in me.

written by Michele Bennett

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain” (I Cor 15:1-2).

suffering and God

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recently I have been intrigued by a discussion on Demian Farnworth’s blog: Fallen and Flawed.  For those of you who are not familiar with his blog, I’d encourage you to check it out.  He has a gift for clearly explaining various aspects of Christianity as well as other religions and worldviews.  In the past few months of reading his blog, i’ve learned much… and have been made aware of how little I actually do know.

Well, he’s had a series of posts going for a while now that are interviews with various outspoken athiest bloggers.  The most recent post is a discussion with Luke Muehlhauser, author of the blog Common Sense Athiesm.

Why do I mention this here?  Because of a question that I asked Luke.  A question of hope in the midst of struggles.  My question for Luke was where he finds hope for today, hope for this life, hope knowing that folks around the world are dying simply because they can’t get clean water.

Here was his answer:

Emily, I think atheism offers less hope and a smaller purpose than Christianity does. The problem with Christianity is that it offers FALSE hope and purpose. I could make up thousands of comforting stories about how we’re all going to live forever in PleasureLand and our lives have eternal, epic, cosmic purpose, and I could tell this story to people who are suffering to cheer them up, but I would be LYING to them.

My approach is to do the best to figure out how the world REALLY works, pick the best solutions I can, and advocate them. Maybe even help enact some of them.

I suspect many atheists are hopeless and joyless. Frankly, I knew lots of Christians who were hopeless and joyless, too. But that is not my subjective experience, for reasons of contingent brain chemistry and experience, I suppose.

Do I feel guilty that my life is better than 95% of all lives that have ever been lived or are being lived now? Sometimes, yes. I’m still trying to figure out as best I can what is moral, what is appropriate guilt, what the best way to live is. The “problem” with critical thinking is that you actually have to do the research and the work to get the answers to hard questions, instead of just accepting a list of easy answers that are comforting and simple but happen to be false.

Thanks for your questions, and thanks to all of you (especially) Demian for allowing to express my view – one that most people probably are not familiar with (unlike the Christian positions on things).

I was just curious what your thoughts were.  Where do you find hope?  Is it simply in doing the best to figure out the best solutions?  Is it in only knowing what the moral answer is?

In my mind, God is of the utmost importance in this discussion. If He does not exist, if He is not in control of what happens in my life (the heartaches and the joys) then what’s the purpose?

where i’ve been

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i know this blog has been quiet lately.  for those of you who read regularly, i apologize.  there are several reasons for my silence.  the first is that i’m on vacation.  i left last saturday for a visit to MD, PA, VA and NC.  Currently I’m in PA visiting my grandparents.  Our manufacturing plant is closed until next Tuesday which means i’ve got some time off work.  So, i decided to take advantage of a less than preferable opportunity of “forced vacation” to visit my extended family.  So far its been a great trip… but more on that in a minute.

the other reason my blog has been silent is because i really haven’t known what to say.  this has been a different season for me… one of loneliness and yet again, new questions.  one of just not knowing what to say.  simply stated its just been a season of mourning in a way… mourning over things i can’t change… mourning over things i wish i had done differently…wondering why God doesn’t step in and longing for heaven.  but i know i can’t spend my time focusing on what “could have been.”  so its been a season of private journaling, of crying out to my God to deliver me from this darkness, and of learning what it means to look to Him, believing He is constant and faithful through every storm… of learning greater depths of His grace and mercy.  of crying out for more grace and more mercy.  and of waiting for it…

so, i am grateful for a week to just get away from it all and refocus.  on the drive up (12 hours in a car alone can be a wonderful thing), i began listening to an audiobook: John Newton: from Disgrace to Amazing Grace.  I still have about 5 hours left of the book but its been very encouraging so far.  i’m grateful for God’s grace… so undeserved to such a wicked sinner like John Newton… and me. 

another thing God has been reminding me of is His power.  though at times i’m tempted to question whether or not He is lovingly overseeing each aspect of my life, I know He is.  Not gonna lie, when I got pulled over and charged with “reckless driving” while going 82 in a 70, i wanted to get angry.  angry because i was staying with the flow of traffic… angry because God knows I don’t have extra funds to pay for a ticket now too.  and then almost immediately, the Holy Spirit began reminding me that He is the God that works in mysterious ways, and that He wants me to look to Him, even here, even in my failure, even in my weakness, even now when i just want to cry.  i’m not sure how this one will end up, but i’m trying to look to my God, my great High Priest who knows my weakness and has promised me mercy and help. 

last weekend, i visited my friend Leanne.  it was encouraging to finally meet her.  :)  and encouraging to see how God is working in her life… even in little ways like providing a second drummer for their church.  YAY!  :)  I went with her and her husband to church on sunday morning.  Worship particularly was very encouraging – just being reminded over and over again that my weakness is not greater than God’s grace and help.  i feel really weak.  and when i fail to feel His grace and help, He has promised still to be there.  so i cling to that.  worship was just a reminder for me of that truth.  then on Monday night, I met my friend Sara for coffee.  it was encouraging to hear of God’s faithfulness through her health issues in the past year.  it was faith-building to see God working in greater ways and deeper depths than i’m aware… to see Him doing great things beyond the walls of my little world.  she was encouraging me to keep my focus on God, remembering that its not all trials.  that God really does love and have what’s best in mind for me.  i’m clinging to the fact that its true. 

so, for the next week or so, my blog will be silent.  i’m leaving tomorrow for my other grandparents house, then DC, then Raleigh, and won’t be home until next Monday.  i’m praying that God uses this week of reflection to refocus my thoughts on Him and to encourage me with His unchanging love.  i’d appreciate your prayers as i’m learning that my God is bigger than all circumstances, no matter what they are.  :)

the gift of faith

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Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (MK 9.24)

…  After all these years, the father’s faith barely registered on the scale.  He wasn’t even sure that this reputed miracle-worker could do anything.  After all, the man’s disciples hadn’t helped his tormented son.  His doubt-filled request to Jesus was: “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

If I had been Jesus, I would have said, “Nice try, Jack.  Come back when you’re a little more convinced of my love and power.”

But instead of turning him away, Jesus encouraged him to have faith: “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”  To which the man honestly admitted, “I believe, but I’ve got a whole lot of doubt, too.  Help my unbelief.”  Amazingly, Jesus replied: “I’ll take that.  I’ll take your mustard seed of faith and work with it.”  It’s almost like Jesus ignored his vast unbelief but grabbed his speck of faith as if it were monumental.  Then, unleashing his power through that particle of faith, Jesus healed his son.

original post at the Blazing Center

ask

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He was one of the walking dead. It had almost been three years since the priest examined that suspicious spot on his left arm and looked at him with sympathy, “I’m so sorry. It’s leprosy. May God have mercy on you, my son.”

Leprosy made you die many times before it killed you. It cut you off from those you loved most in the world. It forced you to live with other unclean people in a hopeless colony away from the town. Those with more advanced cases showed you what you had to look forward to.

It also forced you to scream “Unclean!” whenever people approached, and suffer the humiliation of watching them cover themselves and hurry by, cutting you a wide swath. And worst of all, it excluded you from the worshiping community that once had been the center of your life.

He had once prayed that God would protect him from this disease. Then he had prayed that God would heal him. God had done neither.

What had he done to deserve leprosy? It must have been some sin. But it didn’t make sense. He knew others who were living in sin and were perfectly healthy. He was confused and increasingly despondent.

Then news reached him that the rabbi Jesus was in the area. Word was that Jesus’ teaching was controversial. But apparently he had healed sick people in Capernaum—some of them lepers. This was worth checking out. So he joined the crowd on the mountain, keeping his distance, to listen to the rabbi teach and see if the healing stories were true.

What he heard transformed him. Jesus was different—from everyone. He spoke with power and authority. It was as if his very words coursed with life. He talked about the kingdom of God and the end of death and the promise of eternal life. And Jesus claimed that he could grant it!

Normally he would have written Jesus off as another delusional “messiah.” A dying man didn’t have time for delusions. Yet here he was, hanging on Jesus’ words.

Maybe it was because Jesus wasn’t just talk. People he knew as sinners repented and received forgiveness. Demon-possessed people received deliverance. And diseased people received healing.

But it was more than that. The joy his followers had seemed to go deeper than good health. They were clean inside. They were free. He wasn’t sure what it was, but the hope he tasted in Jesus’ words made him long for something beyond healing.

So he made up his mind. Whatever it took, he was going to get to Jesus and ask him to cleanse him from his leprosy and anything else that defiled him. And if Jesus granted him this gift, he was going to follow him.

So he trailed Jesus down the mountain, looking and praying for the right moment. He had an anxious knot in his gut. What if the moment never came? What if it came and Jesus said no?

It came just as Jesus reached the bottom of the mountain. So he moved quickly and dropped on his knees before the rabbi and blurted out, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

He amazed himself at the confidence with which he said those words.

Jesus looked at him. It seemed like a long time. All the conversation nearby stopped. The man could feel everyone watching. Then the kindest smile spread across Jesus’ face as he stretched out his hand and touched him. “I will; be clean.”

The first thing he felt was Jesus’ mercy. He had not been touched by a non-leper in three years.

Then he felt heat course through his whole body. Then tingling! He felt tingling in the tips of his fingers—fingers he had thought would never feel again! There were gasps from the crowd. He pulled up his sleeves. No spots! He looked up at Jesus with stunned, speechless joy. He knew he was clean.

Jesus helped him stand up and firmly instructed him to tell no one, but to go show himself to the priest with the gift commanded by Moses “for a proof to them.” Nodding, the man stammered, “Thank you!” And with another smile Jesus was off.

As the former leper walked toward the temple, Jesus’ words were ringing in his ears: “I will; be clean.” He shivered. “I will.” Jesus wanted to grant him what he asked for. “Be clean.” Jesus had the power to do it.

That morning all he had wanted was to be healed of leprosy. But now it seemed like that was just a prelude to something much bigger.

God’s good gifts in this life all point to his greatest gift—one he really looks forward to giving us in full. If he did not spare his own son to give us the gift of forgiveness, righteousness, and eternal life, “How will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

Ask! God is willing and able to give you the very best.

source: Desiring God Ministries Blog

what part?

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over at the New Attitude website, they have posted a portion of my testimony.  In that testimony, I mentioned a spontaneous song sung by Bob Kauflin… here is a link where you can listen to the version I heard that day.

 

Lyrics:

What part of your sin did I not cover?
What part of your guilt did I not take?
You have broken my commandments again and again
But I suffered in your place.

What part of your guilt have I not removed?
And what part of your soul did I not make clean?
Through my once and for all sacrifice
I wholly reconciled you to me.

And don’t let the temporary pleasures of sin
Keep you from what I created you for.
Neverending joy and lasting treasure
In the presence of your Lord.

And I’m the One you were created for.
I made you for myself.
My plans are perfect, my timing’s perfect
I know just where you should be and go
So why would you give yourself to anything else?

For my blood has set you free
Free to worship me
Free to resist the power of sin
That seeks to own your life

My blood has set you free
For you were made for Me.
So live in the good of all that I paid for
Live in the good of what you were made for
Live in the good of the blood shed for you.