Saturday, August 21, 2010

God Will Take Care of You

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
Through every day, o’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.

All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.

No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you.

Ok. So I'm not big on hymns. Never have been, but most of the time if you just read the words they aren't that bad. ;)

I'm going to rant for a minute, but it's going to be ok at the end. You can skip ahead if you please.

(((This is all a prelude to what I'm actually going to talk about. I am sick sick sick sick SICK sick of singing "Jesus Name Above All Names", "The Old Rugged Cross", "I Surrender All", and countless other hymns at my church right now. People don't know what they're singing. I think the major problem with hymns, right now in our world, is that people don't take the time to think about the words they're singing.

I remember one time when I was little and we still went to Tri-City, seeing for the first time someone think about what the words meant. I was little, and I just sang my heart out. Just for the sake of singing. But obviously I'm not thinking about the words when I'm 7. I remember after Pastor Joe gave the invitation and we were singing "I Surrender All", Mr. Kline said to the church that he couldn't sing "I Surrender All" because that was a lie.

All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.
I surrender all. I surrender all. All to thee my blessed Saviour, I surrender all.

I can't remember the rest of the words. But yeah. If you read this, I'm challenging you to take this song seriously when you sing it. Don't sing these words, or any words of any song, to God if you don't mean it. It's fake. Truthfully, its a little hypocritical. We'll stand there and sing this stuff without thinking about it and then walk out the church doors with the tune stuck in our head.

This is why I get irritated with hymns. I love the words. I love them. But I can barely stand to hear them sung at church.)))

Ok, so Sunday, I walked into church with that^^^cruddy attitude towards the music for the day. I've been upset because I miss leading the singing in Glenville. I miss the people getting excited and understanding what they're singing. So, I was a little sad/irritated when I sat down.

Pastor Kelly asked us to stand up and sing "God Will Take Care of You." So as I'm singing, and reading the words I'm thinking, wow, this song is right on. So I actually sang it and enjoyed singing it after that. The reason I was especially thrilled with this song selection was because this was something that I've been thinking a lot about lately. It bogged me down, and when I read the words I was immediately encouraged. So, props to Civillia D. Martin for writing this song in 1904. It's taken from 1PT5:7. Cast all your cares on Him. He cares for you."

After we were done, pastor started in with announcements, and an older lady said, "Pastor can I say something?" She stood up and said that she was so glad that he had chosen that song to sing this morning. She said, "That song was for me!" And she sat down. The lady in front of me said, "That song was for me, too." And I really wanted to say "ME TOO!" But I didn't.

But that was so encouraging. I thought, wow... it wasn't even just for me, it was for Janie and Alma, too. And it was probably for a few others, who like me, didn't feel like saying so. lol And then I also thought, those two ladies were reading the words and singing it, and believing it :) :) That made me happy, it encouraged me, and I was happy for the rest of the day. Ah, it was a good Sunday to say the least.

So if you've never heard the song, the words are posted above, and this link is Plumb's version of the song. I couldn't find a good recording with original music, but I think Plumb does a great job with this one. This video is a little cheesy, but I don't really care :) It gets the point across.

God will take care of you. Everyday.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

You're so valuable

If all I had was one last breath
I'd spend it just to sing Your praise
Just to say Your name
If all I had was one last prayer
I'd pray it 'cause I know You're always listening
If I could live a thousand lives, bind the hands of time
I would spend every moment by Your side

'cause I, I know You're there, I know You see me
You're the air I breathe
You are the ground beneath me
I know You're there, I know You hear me
I can find You anywhere

If all I had was one more song to sing
I would raise a noise to make the heavens ring
If all I had was one last chance, I'd take it
I would stake it all on You

If I could raise up high and catch a glimpse of every eye
I would make them believe
What I feel inside

If I could live a thousand lives and bind the hands of time
If I could rise up high and catch a glimpse of every eye

I know You're there
I know You're there
I know You're there, You're there

I've decided this is probably one of my favorite songs of all time for several reasons. Number one, it's Casting Crowns - my favvvorite; number two, it is SO true and His nearness is so clearly presented; number three, it's an amazing worship song; and number four, the idea behind this song helped me through a very very hard time in my life. Though this song hadn't been written yet, it's message is the perfect reminder to me that He is there.

It's not just "God is there", but it's so much more personal, and it's a great reminder that you can say it with full confidence. "I know You're there".
I know He's there because of the changes He's made in my life.
I know He's there because I see works in progress, first hand.
I know He's there because He used a verse in Matthew about sparrows to save my life.
I know He's there becuase the Holy Spirit lives inside me, and makes intercession to God for me "with groanings too deep for words."
I know he's there because of the air I breath and the ground I walk on.

I know, better than I'd like to know, how Satan uses really hard times in your life to bog you down and try to convice you that God isn't there. It's bad enough when Satan tries to discourage you and make you ineffective for God, but I think it's even worse when Satan discourages you to the point that you think your own life isn't worth the struggle.

MT10:29-31 NIV - Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

These verses got my attention. And I really think a lot of it had to do with the translation. I had also read these verses in the New American Standard, which I prefer, but the NIV was so clear.
"Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." MAN! Every time I read that I am seriously blown away. Its super poetic, for one thing, but the words "don't be afraid; you are worth" is what gets me. You are worth it. The NAS says, "you are more valuable."
And yeah, a sparrow seems like a little piddling thing, but think about the vast amount of sparrows all over the world. I venture to say that you've seen one today without looking for it. They're everywhere.

If God cares enough to keep some ugly brown birds up in the sky, with worms to eat, and a grass house to live in, then realize how much more He must care about you.

He holds allllll the little sparrows in His hand. He doesn't let any of them die unless it's His will. It's not like it takes him by suprise. If he knows when a sparrow dies.... then He really cares about you. He's not going to let you out of His hand, either.

This passage, along with Matthew 10, really really saved my life. This is Romans 8:24-39. When I hit rock bottom, I found this passage and memorized it. And then I said it to Satan every time he tried to frustrate me. These words are so powerful.

24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?

25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (<---Yee-haw! That's good stuff)

32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies;

34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 Just as it is written,

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, norangels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sooo, that's really long. I decided I'm not going to elaborate on it, I could write another whole note on these verses. Maybe I'll do that later. But for now, I highlighted the parts that were of particular use to me. I hope this passage kicks you in the butt like it did me. It jump started me and got me going again.

So my whole point is--

God is here. You are valuable. You are worth something. He cares so much. He will never let you out of His hand.

Monday, August 9, 2010

When I Say I'm a Christian

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I am saved"
I'm whispering "I get lost!"
"That is why I chose this way."

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need someone to be my guide.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
and pray for strength to carry on.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
and cannot ever pay the debt.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
my flaws are too visible
but God believes I'm worth it.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartaches
which is why I seek His name.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I do not wish to judge.
I have no authority.
I only know I'm loved.

-Author Carol Wimmer - Copyright 1988


So, I've been cleaning my room since I got back from Glenville. Before I put everything back in my room, I had to clean out a lot of junk. I was going through old files, old boxes, and other old dusty things, and I came across this poem. The first time I read it was about 3-4 years ago. I loved it. I wrote about it then, somewhere, but I don't know where.

If you're reading this, you obviously want to know what I mean when I say, "I am a Christian." I'm going to tell you. I'm going to lay it all out plainly, get ready, I'm going to use bold words and italics! ;)

God made everything. (people, dinosaurs, e.coli, roses, black bears, etc.)
God gave the first two humans free reign of their beautiful garden, but told them that they could not eat the tree of knowledge of good and evil's fruit. But they screwed up.
Because they sinned, God cursed men and women. Adam never had to work before, but now he and his decendents had to do physical labor. Women were going to experience pain in childbirth, and now everything was corrupt. From that point on, bad things happened.
I am a sinner. I am born with a sinful nature, just like I'm born with a nature to try to make people laugh. It's inborn, and that's why its so hard to change it. That’s why I still sin.
God is Holy. Being Holy means to be set apart. You can't contaminate Holy.
Sinners cannot be with a Holy God unless they've been identified with Jesus Christ.
God wants us to be with Him. So He did something so shocking that most people consider it a fairy-tale. God sacrificed His son, Jesus. S-A-C-R-I-F-I-C-E.
Once I finally realized what that meant, I asked Jesus to forgive me.
When Jesus Christ forgave my sin He covered me in His righteousness. He took off my dirty clothes and wrapped me in His own robe. Now when God sees me, he sees His Son.
I am going to HEAVEN!! That is so good.
Just like the poem says, I still mess up. I still fall down. Trust me, I fall down. I get so discouraged. I'm a Christian so that I can call on my Savior to help me get back up when I make mistakes.
God only asks that I admit my mistakes and ask Him to forgive me again, and let Him help me.
God gives me the Holy Spirit to help me realize when I’ve made mistakes and when I need to ask forgiveness. If you’re a Christian, and you’ve sinned, and you feel that terrible burdening guilt in your heart, I believe that is the Holy Spirit tugging at your heart strings, trying to get your attention.
I don't have all the right answers. I don't have a perfect life, and I certainly don't claim to be better than anyone else. But as a Christian, I can climb onto God's shoulders and let Him carry me through the issues of life.
When I call myself a Christian, I'm expected to live like one. So, when I make promises to God--I keep them.
I go to church because I want to be there! Not because I'm supposed to be there. I go to church to be around other Christians, to get uplifted and encouraged. I go because God wants so desperately to have a relationship with me.
Since He wants a relationship with me, I talk to Him. I read my Bible to hear what He has to say in response to my questions or in response to the fits that I throw. (This is a side note: A lot of times I pray when I go driving. I talk out-loud and I probably look like a crazy woman)
You can't have a relationship with your mom if you don't know who she is. You can't have a relationship with your boyfriend if you don't spend time with him.
Army wives write letters to their soldiers, and they earnestly await a reply. She can not wait to hear what the love of her life has to say to her. And she's not going to throw that letter away. She's going to read it over and over again. She'll analyze it, and cry over it. That's intimacy when you can't be close to each other physically.
God wants me to be that close to His heart. He wants me to want to be that close to His heart.
He wants everyone else to be close to His heart, too, so He has commanded me to tell other people about what He did for me. I'm supposed to introduce people to Jesus, after I make the introduction He can take it from there. He doesn't need my help.
Being a Christian isn't about being better than you. I never claimed to be better than anyone. If anything, I have an inferiority complex. I'm letting Him work with me on that.
God wants me to be happy, but sometimes life isn't always happy.
People always tell me that a God that loves everyone wouldn't let bad things happen. Bad things happen because we are a cursed world. We are a cursed world because of the mistake that Adam and Eve made. God doesn't make bad things happen to people, but he does let them happen. The purpose of the bad things is always to make us appreciate the good things, and maybe by appreciating the good things, we'll grow closer to Him. God doesn't let India starve because He's a cruel God. India starves because of the curse. God doesn't sit back and watch, and laugh. He does not turn His back. This is hard to understand, and that's where my faith comes into play. I do not understand it, but I trust in it, and I believe it.
We have a sinful nature. God has a holy nature. It is the way He is. He cannot associate with sin because He is so Holy. Oil and water is the best way I can describe it.
He can't associate with us until we ask forgiveness, and He anxiously waits for us to turn to Him and ask Him to pull us out of the mess we're in.
Bad things still happen because of the curse, and God won't undo that. I don't like that, but I still believe God is Holy and Perfect. I don't want people to die and go to Hell. That's why I need to tell people about Jesus. The argument about predestination is a tricky one. God doesn't choose who goes to Hell, but He knows who is going to. That is what I believe. I believe that God gives us a will to do what we want. Some people will hear about Jesus, reject him, and go to Hell. Some people will never hear about Jesus, and they will also go to Hell. I don't like that much at all! But who am I to tell God what to do?? I believe that the curse has damned everyone to Hell, but God still gives us a chance to get out of that mess. I believe that He is so HOLY and we are so UNWORTHY, that we should be flat on our faces thanking Him for the opportunity that he has given US! We are fortunate.
People are still going to ask me "why does God let people go to Hell" and I'll hold to what I've always said. We are cursed.
If there is anything that is underpreached in the world, it is God's Holiness, and the Curse.
We'll never understand it.
You can ask me whatever you want. I can't tell you why God's mind is made up in a certain way, though. I can only tell you what I know about the Bible. I don't know the mind of God.

I've gotten a little off topic, but I don't care. This is Christianity. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
If you've read this and its ruffled your feathers a little, I can certainly see why, BUT.... if you don't think its true, then why does it bother you? If you think its all a hoax let it all alone and don't worry about it. But God says that the gospel will offend a lot of people. Its not what we want to hear. If you think I'm an idiot for being so bold. Fine. I don't care. I think that if it bothers you that much, you should ask yourself why it bothers you so much.
I know I'm going to have some angry people.... I have no idea who this is going to offend, but its bound to bother someone.

I'm back on topic a little. When I say I'm a Christian, I'm not saying I am every other Christian in the world. A lot of Christians are intolerant an unaccepting, but I try to live my life so that I’m not put into that category. God wants everyone, so I don't target specific people. When I say "I am a Christian", I'm not saying it for the rest of the Christian population. I'm saying it for myself. I am going to serve God as best I can, and I'm not going to worry about everyone else.
When I say I'm a Christian, I'm putting myself in a situation where everyone expects more of me. People who don't believe in God want to see Christians mess up. But as a human I am not perfect, and I will make mistakes. I'm going to try really hard not to, but I will.
When I say I’m a Christian, I’d better know what I’m talking about. But if I don’t have an answer, it’s because I haven’t memorized the Bible. I know a lot of verses, but I’m not always ready for a pop quiz. This is a learning thing for me. I learn something everyday.
I try not to make mistakes because it paints an Ugly picture of God.
God is love.
God is beautiful. He is everything that is right and pure.

I love God.

When I say I'm a Christian, I just want everyone to know what that means. And if you have any questions about something I said, ask.

When I say I am a Christian, I feel so blessed to be called a child of God. I am so very happy to be going to Heaven. I’m so thankful for all of my Christian friends, I’m so glad you’re going there with me. It wouldn’t be right without you.

Lessons from a blackberry bush

Take a walk with a friend and enjoy the warm sunny air and the shady trees. That’s what I did. All you need is an open mind and a good pair of walking shoes.
We needed to talk.

We hadn't "talked" in months. We needed good quality time before it was too late. We needed some time together because we were always missing one another. We were both short on cash and needing some fresh air so we decided to go get lost in the woods.

A local park, not too far away from here, seemed to be just the right place. We hopped in the trusty Durango and headed down to the park while listening to 80’s rock on the radio. The drive was short. The windows were down and the air smelled crisp and fresh.

Quickly, we were out of the Durango and off to a less-trodden trail. Friend said, “Let’s take this trail.” I retorted, “That sounds like a plan!” Down the rocky trail we went until we came to a little bush. “Perfect! Look!” said Friend, who had already plucked a few of the little berries hanging down from their prickly branch onto the path. And look I did. Berries everywhere!The berries looked shiny, but not all were ripe. In fact, most of the berries were still quite red. But the little black shiny berries looked cute enough to eat! I was so eager to pick a few for myself!

I did! How tart! How good! Oh what gladness filled my soul! Cute little berries all for me at my very command. So easy to take! So easy to indulge! Unfortunately, I feared the sourness of the berries would upset my stomach and make me ill.

We walked further. As we continued up the path we saw another blackberry bush. We talked as we slowly chose the best berries from the branches. We talked about fun things, we talked about serious things, and we talked about God. Suddenly, Friend and I noticed deep within the shelter of the thorny branches two giant blackberries! Friend said, “Oh, I want that one.” We climbed, we crawled, we tripped, we slipped, we tip-toed, we ran, and as we inched our way to the matchless berries, we looked on in awe.

What would this berry taste like? It looked so plump and juicy. I reached for the first berry. It was so ripe that at my very touch it fell into my hand. It beckoned me closer, saying, “Oh, isn’t this what you’ve dreamed of? Oh, isn’t this what you’ve longed for?!” Friend reached out for the second berry.

With the berries in our possession, we knew that we would never let these berries go. “On three.” I said to Friend. “One… two… THREE!” Into our mouths went the soft, ripe berries. One bite was all it took. The juicy goodness within, spread throughout my mouth, engaging my taste-buds in a warfare of passion.

I will never forget how sweet or how satisfying that berry was for me.

After a moment of silence in respect for the wonderful berries, Friend said to me, “That’s a lot like the Spiritual life, you know?” I thought about Friend’s statement.

How easy for the taking were the little tart berries. Good for the moment, maybe, but what about the future. I feared an upset stomach because of them! They were not for my benefit! Yet, how hard and toilsome was the path to the better berries. We labored long, and endured many pains along the way. We tore through branches and cut up our knees. We held onto thorns and climbed through tangled vines. But, oh, how that berry did satisfy.

What a pleasant reminder. What an uplifting thought, that the better berries of life are just beyond the easy sour berries! Though the sour berries may satisfy for a time, and they hang about our heads in such a tempting manner, the better berries of life satisfy the deeper longings and desires within.

Once you’ve tasted the better berries of life, you won’t want to go back to the little, tiny, sour berries again. Even though the sour berries may be easier to take, and they may be more plentiful, they do not satisfy for long.

“Was it worth it?” Friend’s voice startled me back into reality. “Was it worth it?”

“Oh yes. It was worth it. And now I can never go back to the tiny, tart berries again.”

property of Allison Drane. Originally posted via Facebook July 17, 2007. Do not reuse unless permission given specifically.