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Exploring the Adventure of Aging

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Faith

Live to Tell: Advent 2015

Never held Bethlehem’s Babe
Or cradled him in my arms
Never tended sheep
Never heard Heaven’s Host
Burst forth with song
Or followed a star like the Magi did.
But I have held a baby
Cradled in my arms
Heard music inspired by the divine
Heard singing from choirs indeed sublime.
Stood on a hill on a crystal clear night
Amazed that stars great ships can guide
Read the words:

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.”

Perceived Truth  not revealed by senses

Joined the great cloud of witnesses bound by faith.

And experienced the very presence of Emmanuel

So I have to tell.

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The Power of a Grateful Heart–Living Hope

Credit: Alexandrahunter.ca
Credit: Alexandrahunter.ca

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away – and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, because you are attaining the goal of your faith – the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9 NET)

Hope is essential to life and to life everlasting. Sometimes I don’t live that way…I don’t live out the hope I have by faith in Jesus Christ. But reading these verses I became aware that having hope is good, but living hope has the power to sustain the Christian through all the battles and minefields of life. Living out our hope draws others to Jesus.

I don’t know why, but sometimes verse works better for me and this came to me today as I considered how grateful I am for the power of the resurrection that allows me to rejoice and to know He is waiting for me with open arms. I want to be the embodiment of Hope…Hope Walking, Talking, Serving, Writing and Worshipping.

Am I living hope?
Know what I mean, do I gleam like gold that has passed through fire,
Or, do I stumble and fall, with downcast eyes, hugging the wall
And dragging one foot?

Am I living hope?
Can you see Jesus in me? Do I live as an heir to the Kingdom of God?
Or do I bleed despair, with questioning eyes, gasping for air,
Cursing the blackness?

Am I living hope?
Though I can’t see, do I still believe that over yonder He is waiting for me?
Does my character shine? Is there light in my eyes? Joy in my heart?
Or, do I hide in the dark?

Am I living hope?
When I have passed, what I’ve done, said or written, will anything last?
Will people know Jesus any better through me? If I am living hope they should see
The footsteps of faith that I leave.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38, 39 NET)

Less Caustic, More Life Giving Overflow

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If anyone believes in me, rivers of living water will flow out from that person’s heart, as the Scripture says.” (John 7:38 NCV)

In my rather zig zag walk of faith I am so often like the father of the young boy who prompted by an evil spirit often threw himself into water to drown or into the fire to burn.  This father (Mark 9:14-27) actually brought his son first to Jesus disciples, who were unable to heal him, and then to Jesus.  He really was just exhausting all possible avenues to healing.  He did not have much hope at all.  What spilled out of his heart as he carried his mute son to Jesus exposed his raw emotions.  In his frustration, he engaged in verbal argument with the crowd around Jesus including some Pharisees and teachers of the law…NO ONE can help my son! 

I have been there.  Have you?

I have felt like I have done everything I could to overcome an obstacle, restore a relationship, pay the bills that overextend my budget, calm a distraught child, find healing.  Have you?

When the father shouted his frustration, his anger, his heartache, the overflow of his heart like mine so often is, was acidic and caustic.  He didn’t need the crowd commenting on his son’s condition, he had no use for Jesus disciples, who hadn’t helped his son, and he was not expecting Jesus to step into the midst of the situation.

And Yet, Jesus did.

And so He does for me.  For you.  For all who will believe.

All my caustic rantings, all my tears, all my foolish explorations of worldly solutions sought without his guidance do not keep him from stepping close and asking,

“How long has this been going on?”

The father relates the history of his son’s illness and then, again, like me, says.

“Please help him, if you are able.”

Jesus must close his eyes, shake his head and then look up to see a crowd filled with unbelief and me, hanging by a thumbnail of faith before he reminds me like he did the father of the boy,

“If I am able? All things are possible to one who believes.”

And so with the father, I whisper, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

To have a heart of belief, to have faith to move mountains, so that rivers of living life giving water flow out of me and splash on others, everyday I must turn loose of the world and let Jesus help me fly.

BY FAITH Hebrews 11:29-12:2

Morning
Morning

Yesterday, Terry preached from Hebrews 11:29-12:2 and more than once just as the scripture used the phrase “By Faith”, so did he bringing it into my sphere.  Living by faith doesn’t mean we will escape suffering, but some will.  Living by faith doesn’t mean we will be saved from the lions or cross the Red Sea on dry land, though some experienced that.  Living By Faith means we know where we are going, who is going with us, who we belong to and on whom to fix our eyes. 

As I listened, I took notes.  Recently I started taking notes on the message using my iPad [Brief aside:  some folks thought I was doing email or playing games…oh, well.]  Somehow, my mind became intrigued by the phrase as I remembered the old gospel song, “In the Sweet By and By”  and my fingers began exploring what the message meant to me…not just Terry’s words, but the Word…and I began a series of verses, that may or may not make sense.  Today, I took my verse and wove “In the Sweet By and By” into the script.

There’s a land that is fairer than day

And by faith we can see it afar;

For the father waits over the way

To prepare us a dwelling place there

By Faith I arose this morning
To welcome the day God has made
It is not my first awakening
But it was the first one today
And this dawn will not come again
And this dawn will not come again.

By Faith down through the ages
the children of God traveled on
For some the sea parted
For some the walls fell
While others died by the sword
By Faith they still travel on
By Faith they still travel on

We shall sing on that beautiful shore

The melodious songs of the blessed;

And our spirits shall sorrow no more

Not a sigh for the blessing of rest

By Faith the weak become strong
By Faith the faithful will rise
And yet many a promise is still not fulfilled
But we run to the cheers of the throng
By Faith to claim the prize
By Faith to claim the prize.

To our bountiful father above

We will offer our tribute of praise

For the glorious gift of his love

And the blessings that hallow our days

By Faith we run till we cannot run anymore
By Faith we pass on the torch
We join the crowd cheering the race
Encouraging the faithful from God’s front porch.
By Faith our voices are raised
By Faith our voices are raised

By Faith I rise with the morning
To welcome the day God has made
The promise is closer with every new day
With each morning not nearly so far away
And this dawn will not come again 
And this dawn will not come again


In the sweet by and by

We shall meet on that beautiful shore;

In the sweet by and by

We shall meet on that beautiful shore 

[“In the Sweet By and By” from http://lyrics.doheth.co.uk%5D

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Dedicating this post to my brother Terry on his birthday!

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