Sunday, 18 September 2011

He is my strength, my song and my salvation.

He has redeemed a choir unto Himself, and there are 10,000 reasons to sing.

Let His beloved unite in grateful anthem,
for He is the loveliest lyric there is.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Jesus colours life.

"Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?" Aren't Solomon's words sometimes our own sighs during early morning commutes when it's still dark outside and the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet?

It is then, as Christians, we must remember Paul's encouragement that is far stronger than a cuppa caffeine, for it feeds the soul - "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain."

Good thing, there is a 'therefore' at the start of that verse, lest it seem like a trite command to grin and bear it. Thankfully, what precedes this command are words of hope - a bright reality that enables us to obey the command to endure and abound always. "For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

So, is life vain or is it not? Well, the answer to that age-old question entirely depends on whether or not we know the One who breathed life into our lungs with our first birth, and who can make alive our souls forever with the great, second birth.

I have been having this reoccurring epiphany over the past few months, that - it is the reality of the Gospel - being chosen, loved, forgiven and transformed by our merciful and mighty God - that redeems the raw realities of life on earth. It is the intentional correlation between our thrilling theology and our work ethic. It is realizing Whose we are that gives worth to who we are, meaning to what we do, significance to where we are and purpose to who we are with. It is understanding that only who we are in Christ determines the importance of what we'll do and the influence we'll have. It is tasting the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ, the life of the Spirit, having an Abba in heaven, that is our joy in every place. And so, depending on the depth and delight of our relationship with Him, our day-to-day duties can either be a blessing or a bore.

In passing from death to life in Christ, we have also gone from vanity to victory, from futility to fruitfulness. Let us, therefore, go on brightening the corner where we are. Onward in joy, Christians - God is with us; God is good.

Friday, 19 August 2011

no matter what,
the Christian can always say:

it is well

because God (Whose we are) is
extremely merciful and gracious,
always good and faithful,
ever powerful and sovereign,
all-knowing and completely wise,
strong and sweetly sufficient

in every season.

sure, we may not always feel swell,
but the fact is that we are well.

"return to rest, o my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you."
psalm 116 v. 7

Thursday, 18 August 2011

'things are looking up' when you look up

God calls His children to remembrance, to propel them forward in faith. Or as Amy Carmichael so perfectly puts it -

The Lord is always kind,
Be not blind,
Be not blind
To the shining of His face,
To the comforts of His grace.
Hath He ever failed thee yet?
Never, never: wherefore fret?
O fret not thyself, nor let
Thy heart be troubled,
Neither let it be afraid.

Look back at His faithfulness; look forward in faith.

Monday, 15 August 2011

"Be still and know that I am God."
Psalm 46 v. 10

Have a listen to this Psalm sung.

Friday, 12 August 2011

"Loved with everlasting love, led by grace that love to know;
Gracious Spirit from above, Thou hast taught me it is so!
O this full and perfect peace! O this transport all divine!
In a love which cannot cease, I am His, and He is mine.
In a love which cannot cease, I am His, and He is mine.

Heav’n above is softer blue, Earth around is sweeter green!
Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen;
Birds with gladder songs o’erflow, flowers with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know, I am His, and He is mine.
Since I know, as now I know, I am His, and He is mine."
- George W. Robinson, 1876

Friday, 5 August 2011

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

[Lyrics by Robert Grant]

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" 1 John 3:1

His love is undeserved, yet unreserved. Oh, the glory of it!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

sing a new song

Surprise, surprise - it's another quote from Spurgeon. But you know, what he says never gets redundant or becomes irrelevant, because he was in the business of making much of our blessed and victorious Saviour who ever liveth. So, I share this particular excerpt from his Morning and Evening in hopes that its bright truth resonates as deeply with you, as with me. It is as if this is one of those culminating entries in my journal - only Spurgeon wrote it for me decades ago in England.

This makes me think about how people like to label other people and themselves. "Well you know, he is the glass is half empty kind of person, while I try to see the glass as half full." Or "I really ought to see the glass as half full, but I just can't help myself." Or... etc. I'm sure you've heard this phrase, perhaps even used it yourself. Well, I propose that for the child of God, the glass is neither half fall nor half empty; it is over-flowing. My cup runneth over with moment-to-moment mercies.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Spring is here in all its fresh glory, and the world is becoming more colourful, one flower at a time, over time. This season the Great Gardener has been teaching me patience through His natural revelation and Special Revelation.

It was just about the same time that I read this quote {below} when I noticed tight, tiny bulbs of green appearing on the rose bushes outside my door. I knew that colours were coming, and spring was humming about pretty petals and sweet smells. But I had to wait. And wait I did, with a camera in hand and excited anticipation in heart. Days passed, and the buds began their slow unfolding. Days passed, and the buds began to blossom. Days passed, and now they are blooming big.

"Cease meddling with God's plans and will. You touch anything of His, and you mar the work. You may move the hands of a clock to suit you, but you do not change the time; so you may hurry the unfolding of God's will, but you harm and do not help the work. You can open a rosebud, but you spoil the flower. Leave all to Him. Hands down. Thy will, not mine." - Stephen Merrit {Streams in the Desert}

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Jehovah Jireh

The Lord provides,
in every way,
all the time.

Monday, 28 February 2011

psalm one hundred and three

My faith is so small sometimes, and Jesus sadly says to me, 'O you of little faith'. I am sad and sorry, and I feel silly, because to have little faith in the perfectly faithful One is not only pathetic, but also preposterous. From eternity past He has proven Himself perfectly faithful, down to the details. He has performed great deliverances for His children, ever since Israel became a nation. He has guided and guarded the feet of His people through waterless wildernesses and vicious valleys. Then He made a way for us sinners to be rescued from darkness and redeemed to light.

He has forgiven all our iniquities,
redeemed our life from destruction,
crowned us with loving-kindness and tender mercies,
satisfied our mouth with good things,
and renewed us

time and time again.

Yet still, I forget His benefits, and let my faith falter, and I am ashamed for that. I beg His pardon and plead for help - that He would increase my faith, to match His faithfulness - that my faith would be steadfast because the Object of my faith is perfectly steadfast, that my faith would be joyful because the Object of my faith is abundantly kind, that my faith would be hopeful because the Object of my faith is the God of all hope, that my faith would be sure because the Object of my faith is truthful and trustworthy, that my faith would be big because the Object of my faith is almighty, that my faith would be patient because the Object of my faith is timely, that my faith would be liberating because the Object of my faith is wise, that my faith would be calm because the Object of my faith is sweetly sovereign, that my faith would be brave because the Object of my faith is very, very great, that my faith would be humble because the Object of my faith is worthy of all praise.

This is my prayer, yet He has humbled me enough times for me to know that these resolutions will be broken in some way or another. My faith will falter and fail sometimes, because I am fallen and finite. But what I will cling to in these failures is Him - Him Who falters not and fails not. If I am unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is. 2 Timothy 2:13

He knows my frame, and remembers that I am dust.
But His mercy to me is from everlasting to everlasting.
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise His holy name for that.

Friday, 11 February 2011

ruby windows and clean clothes

"Happy are you, my soul, if you know that God looks through Jesus' wounds on You, and through those wonderful ruby windows sees you so changed and beautiful that He can say, 'Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.'" - S. Spurgeon

"And all our righteous acts are like filthy rags." [Isaiah 64:6]

"We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." [Ephesians 1:7]

"I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness." [Isaiah 61:10]

God calls for a wardrobe change before we can enter His heaven - a drastic wardrobe change. Thankfully, He supplies the clothes and does the dressing - on one condition, that we take off our filthy rags... all of them. Then, He can dress us in that gorgeous gown, that costly, gorgeous gown, purchased by His Son, years ago on Calvary Hill. Oh, what a glorious, undeserved exchange. And as if it couldn't get any better, it does! Not only are we given clean clothes, but also an invitation to an eternal banquet with the King. Those of us dressed in His clothes will dine with Him around a table, with Him on His throne at the head of it. Next to Him will be His Son, who paid for us all to enter this celebration. There will be fullness of joy forevermore, because God's steadfast love endures.

I know heaven has streets of gold, and walls of jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, and emerald; perhaps there will be ruby windows too.

Monday, 7 February 2011


I am currently reading a tremendous book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called Lies Women Believe (and the Truth That Sets Them Free). If you are a woman, I implore you to find this book and get going immediately. It is a no-nonsense, practical, powerful read. Page by page, lies that we believe are uncovered and replaced with transforming truths.

This excerpt really struck me in a chapter engaging the lie, "It's all about you."
"History is the story of redemption. This story is much bigger than I. I am not the main character in the drama of redemption. I am not the point. But by God's grace I am part of it. My subplot is integral to the whole. It is far more significant to have a small part in this story than to star in my own puny production. This is a cosmic story that will run throughout eternity. Will I play my part with grace and joy, or will I go for the short-run, insignificant story that really has no point?"
- Susan Hunt

Jesus said, "Know the truth, and the truth will set you free." What's the truth? The truth is that you and I were purposefully created to live for His grand, gorgeous glory, to enjoy His excellence, to worship His wonderful worth. Unless we are doing so, we are not really, truly living; rather we are dead and disillusioned, in bondage to our-sinful-selves. We"-can't-get-no sat-is-faction" like the Rolling Stones sang, when we are living for ourselves, because we are fallen and finite, and made for more, a marvelous more. Perhaps the greatest lie each of us live by is that "it's about me". It's actually not! Look around, creation sings His song. Look back, redeemed saints sang His song. Look ahead, everybody will bow the knee and acknowledge their Creator. Better to face the fact sooner than later, that it's all about God, knowing Him, praising Him, enjoying Him. [This reconciled relationship made possible through His Son, the Saviour.]

Reality is ironic sometimes -
like how living as His servant is where true freedom is found.

Monday, 24 January 2011

food for thought

we all have to eat. every single one of us. that is one of the indisputable facts that unites mankind on every continent. it doesn't matter whether you are dining around a pretty table with fine china, or sitting in a circle on the floor sharing wooden bowls. and it doesn't matter whether you use a fork, a set of chopsticks, or your hands. you could be in a crowded restaurant, a little café, or the comfort of your home. whatever the case, wherever you go, people eat. you eat. i eat.

now this whole idea of eating can seem like a very matter-of-fact, mundane part of life. our bodies need nutrition to function, so we eat. it's an old fact of life, from the beginning of humanity. yet, have you ever considered that eating could have been made a very boring activity, done just for the sake of survival? all i have to say is - praise God it isn't.

i am so delighted that God created taste buds, and gave thousands and thousands of them to each person. and i am so glad that He created flavours too. all kinds of delicious flavours. strong, spicy, rich, and colourful flavours. flavours that combine and clash, to make eating interesting. these taste buds and those flavours make eating a pleasure. God didn't have to make it that way, but He did. so whether we eat (or whatever we do), let us do it for the glory of God.

that being said, think before you eat. think about God's culinary creativity, and praise Him for your food. savour that steak, suck on that sweet, enjoy that enchilada, relish that rice, taste that tangerine... and worship God.

Friday, 21 January 2011

"I would have despaired
unless I had believed
that I would see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD."

[Psalm 27:13-14]

Monday, 3 January 2011

living colour

When I walk through the door of my house, these old photographs welcome me home.

What may appear as just a collection of old, black and white photographs to you are not just any old photographs to me, but rather the memory of colourful people. They have been carried carefully by my mum from Northern Ireland and Scotland, to the east and west coast of the States.

They are the faces of my family through the generations, some who have gone before me, some who live across the ocean, some who are still with me. They are stories to be told, and told again. They are people to be remembered and revered. They are lives to learn about and learn from.

I'm sure you have old, black and white photographs in your house too. Maybe they are in some nice frames, or maybe they are hiding somewhere in a box. Wherever they are, don't just let them collect dust. Don't imagine the lives of those in them as black and white either, but rather colourful and important. Go look at them, ask about them, listen, and learn from them.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

in feast or fallow

have a listen...
in feast or fallow
words and lyrics by sandra mccracken

when the fields are dry, and the winter is long
blessed are the meek, the hungry, the poor
when my soul is downcast, and my voice has no song
for mercy, for comfort, i wait on the Lord

in the harvest feast or the fallow ground,
my certain hope is in Jesus found
my lot, my cup, my portion sure
whatever comes, we shall endure.
whatever comes, we shall endure

on a cross of wood, His blood was out-poured
He Rose from the ground, like a bird to the sky
bringing peace to our violence, and crushing death's door
our Maker incarnate, our God who provides.

come, oh come, Emman- u- el
come, oh come, Emman- u- el

when the earth beneath me crumbles and quakes
not a sparrow falls, nor a hair from my head
without His hand to guide me, my shield and my strength
in joy or in sorrow, in life or in death.