Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Thoughts on God’ Category

I’m trying to Listen, Lord

Does anyone else struggle with the concept of prayer?  Does it make you feel less than “spiritual” because you may have doubts in this department?  Do you believe God always answers?  Even when He answers against what you are believing and praying for?  Do you believe that His will is always done here on earth?   I do.

Somehow when I have doubts as to how I believe things work out (or don’t work out) – it feels like it goes against the way I was raised to feel or believe.  My husband has called me a Calvinist because of some of these doubts and struggles.  It is not that I don’t believe we should pray, rather I believe that God answers even when we don’t specifically pray for something.  I believe that God created, sees and knows the bigger picture of our lives – and His ways and thoughts are so much bigger than ours.  I don’t believe in using prayer as a “rabbit’s foot” – pulled out when we feel we are in serious crisis of mind, body and soul – but rather it should be an ongoing journey to listen and develop the mind of Christ.

Help me not to cry out just when I need something from you.

As Christians do we really believe that God is good all the time?  - has our best interest at heart even though we cannot see it?  Even if we haven’t prayed specifically for it?  Yes.  I believe that.   Is prayer for God to change His eternal plans already set in motion?  Or rather, is prayer for me?  Certainly God does not need me to send my shopping list of requests to Him.  He knows everything already, right?  I believe prayer is a discipline for me that takes years to develop.

Today I found this today on Sandi Patty’s Blog:

Dan Rather, former CBS anchorman, once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers.  She answered, “I listen.”  So Rather turned the question and asked, “Well then, what does God say?”  To that, Mother Teresa smiled with confidence and answered, “He listens.”  Rather didn’t know how to continue.  He was baffled.  “And if you don’t understand that,” Mother Teresa added, “I can’t explain it to you.”

Such a profound thought.  You mean I don’t need to say or do anything?  Yes.  Listening to God’s voice is enough, but often times we cannot quiet our own thoughts to do this.  I believe that prayer changes us.  I believe this is why Jesus told us to pray.  So that we might have understanding and insight.  So that we might have quiet acceptance and resolve.  Even when things don’t go my way.  Even when He doesn’t give me what I want.  Even when my bad choices produce difficulty in my life.  Even when I am unhappy.  Even when I live right and do everything by the book.  Even when I follow all the rules and things still go wrong.  Even when people die.  Even when family members go the wrong way.  Even when nothing happens when I pray.

Change me.

 

I believe that by spending time with Jesus in submission to His plan and wisdom – we become bendable and pliable.  It allows us to look at our circumstances differently.  Maybe not at first – but spending time with Him eventually changes us.  Even when it looks as though we are doing nothing. Even if it makes us look and feel weak, wimpy and submissive.  Even when others around us urge us to be more aggressive in prayer.  How are we going to get an answer if we aren’t willing to go there?  What happens then, when after we are “aggressive” and exhausted from prayer – God does not answer.  Is it our lack of faith?  Is it our inability to “pray through”.  Were we not aggressive enough?  Did we do it wrong?  What about those we pray for that do not get well?  We didn’t pray enough?  Or long enough?  Such thoughts are contrary to the Bible.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  Matthew 6:7,8

Take away my guilt.

Prayer is listening.  Prayer is developing trust.  Prayer is an open invitation for the Father to know us – and us to know Him.  It is about relationship – not a shopping list of requests – prayed by anxious people.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6

I’m sure I will continue to struggle with this – even though as a believer, I should not.  Having faith is believing that no matter what happens to me or those I love in this life – He has it under control.  Nothing surprises Him or escapes His notice.  Like a loving father who wants to protect, hurts when I hurt and wants so much to reassure even when I don’t understand that he loves all the time – He gets me.  He has a plan bigger than I do.  And even though I doubt and wonder if there is something more I should be doing or praying about – He still has it.  All the time.  This simple truth takes years of trust to develop – and I’m still working on it – one day at a time.

So in the meantime – I’m believing and trying to listen, Lord.

God Bless

The Power of Addiction

I watched a special last night on Oprah Prime.  The topic was substance addition, prescription drug usage and street heroin.  I had no idea that heroin addiction has doubled in the last 5 years!  The statistics are alarming.  Drug addiction doesn’t look like it used to.  Addicts can look like your next door neighbor, the clerk at the store, a middle aged homemaker, a nurse at a hospital.  Sometimes it starts with a medical procedure and prescription pain relievers and then when that is no longer affordable or available (depending upon insurance and refills) there can be problems.  One alternative:  Buying drugs on the street where they are cheap and available.

creepy_trees_dark_forest_mist_1920x1080_wallpaper_High Resolution Wallpaper_2560x1600_www.wallpaperhi.com (1)

There is a problem in our community with addition – all kinds, from alcohol to meth.  It is so sad to see what it does to families.  The addiction takes over – nothing is more important.  All common sense and reasoning goes out the window.  Simple things like grocery shopping and paying rent become second only to the drug of choice.

What I found interesting in all the stories told from last nights episode was this:  All have an emptiness that needs to be filled.  Some expressed that it is a spiritual emptiness.  And by “spiritual” they don’t necessarily mean a relationship with God (although I believe that is what would help the addiction problem) but an emotional/relationship emptiness and void that needs filling.

We often enjoy watching Hoarders and have remarked that all these people with this condition of “hoarding” seem to also have an emptiness or void that they try to fill through shopping and accumulations of “things”.  It is a very real and growing problem in our world today.  And every one of them – almost without exception,  had something traumatic happen to them at a young or impressionable age.  Sometimes it was even something later, like the death of a child or loved one – a financial reversal or loss of job.  Whatever the reason, there are common elements to addiction and disorders such as hoarding.

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Self loathing, hatred, feelings of helplessness and unworthiness are also a common theme.  Last night in the interview, Russell Brand confessed to his years of struggle with drug addiction.  Now more than 10 years sober – he says every day is still a struggle.  As he explained how the drugs – particularly heroin makes you feel – it is no wonder that it can pull people in and set them up to fail.  It is an unending cycle of dependency and abuse.  He has seen many senseless deaths of friends caught in the trap of addiction and understands all too well how it happens.  But I was struck most by his comment, “There was a voice in my head that wanted me dead”  That made me sit up and take notice.  Do I believe that voice is demonic in nature?  Yes.  Absolutely.  It’s just like Satan.

” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

Crazy scary stuff!  But it also makes sense.  People lose themselves in the feeling that takes over their lives and nothing else matters.  It is a form of suicide, just like anorexia.  A self loathing of immense proportions.  And I recognize that this is evil and demonic.  Satan wants us all dead.  That’s his agenda, and he’s not good at hiding it.

This makes me very sad.

As a Christian I can see another side to addiction.  I can see life, health, purpose, prosperity of the soul, forgiveness, common sense, kindness, honesty, giving, graciousness and most of all…love.

Darkness-collage

Christianity is not just a crutch – like so many out there looking for something to fill that empty void.   Christ is the filling.  The freedom He gives us is not just a temporary “fix” – it is a way of living.  It lasts.  It endures.  It lengthens life and relationships.  Not just in this lifetime – but the next one too.  It does not rob.  It gives.  When we don’t have to just depend on ourselves for “things” to fix us or fulfill us, but instead can give ourselves over to a loving God who not only created us – but has a plan for us – it changes things.  It takes the pressure off.  Gives purpose.  Gives life, a clear and sober mind, health of body and most of all – fills the void inside.  Because He loves us – it doesn’t matter what others may have done to us – His plan and purpose for us is always healthy, always reassuring and always builds us up rather than tearing us down.  When we are full of love from Him – we are free to love others and give to others out of that love.  It is a release from the prison that others find themselves in.

light-vs-dark

Those of us who find ourselves free from addiction are very fortunate.  But being fortunate does not give license to be judgmental or critical to those who are.  Instead of looking at people with addictions as weak, stupid, or even hardened criminals – we need to look on them with compassion and the love of Christ.  As a Christian this can be the hardest thing of all.  The “I’m OK – you’re NOT OK” seems to fit most of us with a healthy lifestyle.  The “how stupid” or “what a weak person” comments are never far from our thoughts.  If only “they” were just like me.  If only they had real resolve and will power they wouldn’t be in this fix or lifestyle.  We say these senseless things without having any idea the journey others are on.

Dear Jesus – soften our hearts to accept others with their addictions and problems – just as they are.  Help us to see them as you see them – broken but wonderful creations loved by you.  Help us live in such a way that those that are bound by things here on earth will see YOU in US.  And by seeing YOU – they will want what you offer – hope, freedom, peace, forgiveness, love, acceptance, purpose and health.  Help us live in such a way that you are attractive.  That You would be a real solution to a huge unsolvable way of life.  I pray that the inner void would be filled by something that will last – a relationship with you.  And that I would be aware and take an active part in bringing about real change.  This is my prayer. Help us. Humble us.  Teach us.  Break our hearts.   Amen.

LIVETH

Falling

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

What does it mean to rest in the shadow of the Almighty?  As I pondered over this verse this morning, chewed on it while taking my morning walk and drinking in the beauty of the early day, I also wrestled with the concept.  Does this mean that if I don’t dwell in the shelter of God – I won’t find rest?  Yes…and no.  Mostly yes.
Real rest comes from feeling safe.  Knowing that no matter what you do, good or bad – or what others have done to you – you can always comes back and rest under his great arms of love.  Just fall in.  Feel completely loved.  No matter what.
I believe if it’s safety you’re looking for – you’ve come to the right place.  This song is one I can’t shake since the first time I heard it – I pray it will be a blessing to you today.
God Bless
My canyon of transgressions,
It echoes through my troubled mind
Reminding me of desperation,
And of the peace I long to find

I wrestle with this world around me,
I forge the chains that hold me down
But it was your love, a dead world’s pardon
You gave it all, you gave for me

I’m falling into your love overwhelming,
I’m falling into your grace
I’m falling in where my heart knows no wrong
I’m falling into you

To you my life I will surrender,
Surrender heart, mind, flesh and soul
Reveal to me, reveal your calling,
It is your will I long to know

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My Unspoken Thoughts

Psalm 19:14

Living Bible (TLB)

14 May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

I recently ran across a Bible app for my iPhone and iPad that is called “one verse a day”.  Every morning without fail, I get a notice of another encouraging verse to meditate on.  Sometimes in my crazy business, reading the Bible through from one end to another in “several easy steps” – is just not an option.  I get bogged down with words and language that don’t mean anything to me personally.  Stories and situations that are interesting the first time I read them, but not so much any more.

I remember years ago hearing a message concerning this thought.  The speaker was convinced that it is not the amount of scripture that is read on a daily, weekly or even yearly basis – but that it is the content of what we read, absorbed and meditated on – that is of the real importance.  Scripture that can come alive by simply allowing those words to inspire and change.  Finding a fresh new way of applying two or three thoughts – one simple passage.

If you are like me – you aren’t concerned about winning any contests when it comes to Bible reading and prayer.  I want what I meditate on and what I pray about to be simple and straight forward.  A conversation with a trusted friend.  One that keeps confidences and assures with tender love and attention.  I am not always wanting everything that I think about to be out in the open.  It is private.  I have private things I ponder and reflect on.  I have worries and insecurities.  I don’t often share these – even with God.  But even though I do not – He still knows and understands.  It is because of His great love demonstrated to me, that I trust Him with those unspoken things.

Words spoken carry weight.  Especially those things I wish I could take back.  Things in emails or in letters over the years.  Once they are written or spoken – they are out there.  It’s too late.  Often times things written in the heat of anger or emotion that had no business being written down or said.  Can you relate?  I am so glad that the unspoken thoughts are just that.  Unspoken.  Private.  Safe.  And still – I am held accountable for them too.  I can look really pious on the outside.  I mean – really spiritual, and yet have a dark unspoken side.  You probably know what I’m talking about.  Or you’ve seen too many times when a seemingly “spiritual” person has a little heat applied to them.  The real them comes to the surface.  It can be disheartening and even crushing – until we remember that we are all about two decisions away from sin.  We are all human and capable of great darkness if left up to ourselves.  Lord help us!

I heard a great quote today.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.   Maya Angelou

May we ever strive to make our unspoken and spoken things match.  The way we think be the truthful way we live and speak.

Amen

 

God Bless

 

 

Image

How Do I Fit Into The Cosmos?

All of my life I’ve been fascinated by space, time and the cosmos.  When I was very young we lived in a city that had a planetarium and we would visit about once a year.  I remember reclining in the chair as the room would go black and the ceiling would become the sky above – lit up by a million stars.  It was dazzling.  And mind boggling.universe

Lately there have been a couple of programs on TV, “The Universe” and “The Cosmos” – both of which concentrate and attempt to explain some of the mind boggling science that is so fascinating.  It really is interesting to learn the origins and brilliant minds who took the first steps toward the future – glimpsing a world beyond our own planet and then setting about to prove the existence of other planets, stars and galaxies. Things that we know today, were hardly believed possible several hundred years ago.

Like anything where information is proved, it brings about more questions.  And even more awe.  Tiny little me.  On an obscure planet, in a tiny solar system – one of trillions in the known universe.  Am I unique?  How can this even be possible?  And yet, try as hard as they might – even with all the sophisticated equipment to measure, calculate and speculate – they still cannot find life on any other planet.  We are unique.  We are special.  Created by a loving heavenly father – who fashioned our earth to sustain very specific conditions – not found on any other planet.  Specific conditions to have living breathing human beings, animals and plant life as well as all kinds of fish in the oceans and birds in the air.

Am I special?  Do I matter in the larger scheme of things?  With swirling galaxies, shooting stars and incredible heat and cold, things WAY bigger, faster and much more intimidating than me.  Why does God care about me when I’m so small and insignificant?  In Isaiah we read:

Look up into the heavens! Who created all these stars? As a shepherd leads his sheep,calling each by its pet name, and counts them to see that none are lost or strayed, so God does with stars and planets!  (Living Bible)

Do you know how many stars there are?  Scientists are always discovering new galaxies and stars – even millions of light years away.  And yet God knows each of them by name?  And yet I know from what the Bible tells me, that He takes a personal interest in me.  Size and strength don’t mean anything to God.  He creates at will, possesses incredible strength and artistry not to mention attention to the smallest detail of creation.  Here in Luke 12 we read:

“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.…

If God cares so much about naming the stars and clothing the lilies in beautiful colors – plants and flowers that are here for a few days and then gone, many of which are never seen, then He surely cares about me.  In fact the Bible tells that he not only created mankind to have a special relationship with Him with choice to love Him – but that He also came to earth Himself in the form of His son Jesus.  He did this because of our poor choices and rebellion against God putting us on a dangerous and deadly road destined to an eternity separated from Him.  In Romans 5:8 we read:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Amazing.  Mind-blowing. Love.

How do I fit into the cosmos?

Bottom line:  I am a creation of vast importance to God.  So much so that the God of the universe creating things so far away, I will never even see or know they are there actually came to earth on my behalf.  He came in human form to relate with me.  He demonstrated His love toward me by teaching me how to live and then dying for me so that I can live. 

I am unique.  And special.  And so are you.

 

God Bless

 

 

Reflections of the Resurrection

Today I heard a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah”.  The lyrics had been changed to reflect a more “Christian” version.

I have always been a little troubled by the original lyrics by Leonard Cohen.  They are a little provocative and edgy – which I guess was the point of why he wrote them.  But for someone like me who was raised in the church, there was always something missing from them, much as I liked the music.

As I reflect on Easter weekend, the death and resurrection of our Lord, it is with a certain somber sweetness.  There never are enough adequate words each year as we celebrate new life in Christ.  For this reason, music has always been an outlet of expression.  Songs like “Hosanna”, “Agnus Dei” and “The Wonderful Cross”  sung by Michael W. Smith have special meaning.  A meaning that takes me back several years when the staff of our church went to a late night premier of “The Passion of the Christ”.  It was the following morning in the shower when I was listening to “The Wonderful Cross” that I could not stop sobbing because the meaning was so poignantly clear.  

The longer I have lived, the more I am lulled to sleep by repetition, rhetoric and yes, even the same Bible verses over and over again.  But when music is added to the equation, something special happens for me.  I want things to be fresh and new and I look for ways to have that happen in  my own life.

Recently we have become a part of a local church body.  Youth and seniors.  New and old.  Depth of experience and fresh uncharted territory.  All in an attempt to forge forward and yet have things remain the same to find a different and yet a new way to tell the story.  Over and over again.  It’s all about the empty cross, the empty grave and the resurrection.  Nothing much else matters.  Not style or tradition, not repetition or change.  People come and go – but the message remains constant.  This is what the church is about.  We don’t just “do” church.  We live it and find that personal place where change happens deep within.

But if you, like me – find yourself reflecting in the same manner as previous years –  find songs like the ones I mentioned above and watch the video I have posted below.  This is fresh and new.  Same story and message.  Different lyrics and music.  All in an effort to challenge, and change us from the inside out.  May we never be lulled to sleep and take for granted the wonder, the miracle of new birth and everlasting life that was bought with a very high price.

Happy Resurrection to all of you!

God Bless

Lyrics belong to Kelly Mooney.  Her story and the song are below:

Lyrics To Hallelujah by Kelly Mooney
Adapted to the music of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah
A crown of thorns placed on His head
He knew that He would soon be dead
He said did you forget me Father did you?
They nailed Him to a wooden cross
Soon all the world would feel the loss
Of Christ the King before His Hallelujah
Hallelujah x4
He hung His head and prepared to die
Then lifted His face up to the sky
Said I am coming home now Father to you
A reed which held His final sip
Was gently lifted to his lips
He drank His last and gave His soul to glory
Hallelujah x4
The soldier who had used his sword
To pierce the body of our Lord
Said truly this is Jesus Christ our Savior
He looked with fear upon his sword
Then turned to face his Christ and Lord
Fell to his knees crying Hallelujah
Hallelujah x4
Took from his head the thorny crown
And wrapped him in a linen gown
And laid him down to rest inside the tomb
The holes in his hands, his feet and side
Now in our hearts we know he died
To save us from ourselves oh hallelujah
Hallelujah x4
Three days went by again they came
To move the stone to bless the slain
With oil and spice anointing hallelujah
But as they went to move the stone
They saw that they were not alone
But Jesus Christ has risen Hallelujah
Hallelujah x4
Hallelujah x4
All right reserved by Leonard Cohen and Kelley Mooney.

The Beauty Of Music

Today I came across this beautiful poem written by John Piper.  (John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the author of more than 50 books).  Part of its beauty is the music, design and cinematography.   I was swept away into his story and was captured emotionally by the incredible word pictures.  But I know I would not have felt this as intensely had it not been for the music.

This is especially true in my favorite movies.  Where would we be without the underscore music to carry us to the important, poignant or intense parts of the film?  I remember feeling this way many times over the years when it cam to TV drama too.  Anyone ever have a teary moment over “Little house on the prairie”, “The Walton’s” or “Touched by an Angel”?  It probably wasn’t the writing as much as the music.  Every good show has music to give it that extra boost.  And to achieve the much sought after emotional bonding.

I think you will love this poem – watch it all the way through and ponder on the words.  Just Beautiful.

 

God Bless

Belong

This song by Chris Rice came on my Pandora Radio station today while I was getting ready for the day.  I’ve heard it before but this time it really grabbed me.  So much so I just knew I had to find it and post it.

I hope it speaks to you today.

God Bless

Words and Music by Chris Rice

Fading memories ignored
I crawl across the forest floor
Pool reflects an orphan child
Dirty, lost, alone and wild
Fatherless and nameless still
Fallen heart and broken, will
there ever be a place where I belong

I cower ‘neath the monster trees
And try to stand on tired feet
But gravity knocks me to the ground
Where I give up, and tears roll down
I claw the dust and beg the end
Curse the day that I began
to hope there’d be a place where I belong

I hear a sound I recognize
You lift my chin and seek my eyes
Song of love You sing to me
I ache to sing it back to Thee
“Father Love prepares a place
Brother Jesus leads the way
Follow to the place where you belong!”

How did I miss this wondrous song?
The forest sang it all along
“River rinses all your shame
Father offers you His name
Father Love prepares a home
Brother Jesus leads you on
Follow to the place where you belong!”

“Father Love prepares a place
Brother Jesus leads the way
Follow to the place where you belong
Follow to the place where you belong!”

Copyright © 2010 ChristianLyricsOnline.com
All Rights Reserved.

Something Bigger

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Seattle is my home town – at least it has been since I’ve been 8 years old.  Even though I lived somewhere else for about 15 years after I was married, it was still my real home.  Ever since 1995 we have settled in the shadow of Seattle – and now most recently we moved but are still just 2 1/2 hours away – east of the mountains.  

Winning the Super Bowl reminds me that we all love to belong to something bigger than ourselves.  Whether we live there or not – we all love that sense of importance we feel from a big event and we tend to gravitate toward people who are like-minded. Nothing brings a city and region together like winning the Super Bowl!

Watching the game this past Sunday filled me with a sense of pride.  Not so much that I was ever a die-hard Seahawks fan – or even a football fan until this year – but it was that feeling that we are all in this together – that feeling of something bigger.  Part of a winning team!  No one can dispute how well our team played – and that there are such great role models on the team – many of whom are Christians and speak out about their faith in God.  Ordinary people – with incredible athletic gifting – rising to the top of the sport.  Better than any reality music show.

As a part of God’s kingdom – we all can feel like we belong to something bigger.  Even if we are not a pro athlete or musician.  We are all given special abilities and gifts to affect those around us.  Think about it!  Only you can be that special person to those around you.  You alone have the God-given ability to influence and direct.  You are special.  You are unique.  And if you are not already – you can belong to something bigger than just yourself.  The God of the whole universe!  His kingdom and plan!  You can have a real cause and purpose.  I believe that if you ask – you can discover just what that is.  For some people it is a process of going through life day-to-day just being constant and faithful to your family.  For others you are meant to be on a bigger stage touching more people at once and sharing your example.  But no matter what that special bent in your own personal life and personality – know that you are something unique and special to God.  In Psalm 139:14 we read:

 

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

You were fearfully and wonderfully made.  You are a part of something special.  Special to God.  A part of His something bigger.

Take it in and believe.  Embrace the something bigger today.

 

God Bless

 

 

How Big Is God?

I have always had a fascination with time and space. Mysteries of the universe boggle my tiny brain. The last couple of nights Greg and I have been watching some really awesome explanations of some of those mysteries concerning time and distance.   And even though it is still hard to wrap my brain around the ENORMOUS distances between planets, stars and even solar systems – this video will at least attempt to help explain.  If you are fascinated by the cosmos and ever wondered just how big God is – you really need to watch this.  The first 5 or so minutes will blow your mind!  Keep in mind that he is describing distance at light speed – not as fast (or slow) as we can travel in a rocket.

 

Enjoy and God Bless

 

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A Blumes With a View

Putting the "blah" in blog!!

Charm City Thriftanista

Poppin' tags Baltimore style...

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