His Glories Now We Sing

Happy Resurrection Day! All of us are joyfully celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well we should! Those of us blessed enough to watch livestreaming services from our own pastors will hear various implications of His resurrection, and those who don’t have a church with such capabilities can enjoy the service from my home church, First Baptist Church Weymouth. If you miss the livestream at 10:30 a.m. EST, you can still play the video at your convenience.

Rather than posting a hymn exclusively about Christ’s resurrection this year, I’ve decided to post one celebrating the totality of His ministry and focusing on how His ministry glorifies Him as our matchless King through all eternity.

So often we emphasize the benefits Christ’s resurrection brings to us. That emphasis is entirely appropriate! But if we limit our appreciation of His resurrection to its effects on us, we forget that ultimately it is about His glory. This Resurrection Day, let’s magnify Jesus Christ, Who died and rose on high.

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Snap, Crackle, Pop — My Back And More Bedrest

Tulip SamplerOkay, folks– I guess the title of this post sums up why I haven’t been blogging these past few weeks. The “pulled muscle” ended up being a compression fracture in my lumbar region, meaning that the advice to sit in my wheelchair that I received from my February 28th visit to the Emergency Room was exactly opposite of what I needed to be doing.

On March 8th I got out of bed and tried to sit on the toilet. As I was screaming in pain, John called 911 and the Randolph Fire Department escorted me back to Milton Hospital. This time they did a CAT scan, which showed the fracture at the L2 level. So I’ve been lying in bed eating Tylinol and Motrin as I’ve had Lidocane patches on my back.

Just to complicate matters, my evening PCA has been out for three weeks with a fractured arm, so John’s been having to scare up people to help in her absence. Now with the Covid19 virus, we’ve had to ask his PCA to take a leave of absence (he works in a grocery store and is therefore exposed to a large number of people) so we’re having to find people to help him get up. This is the first time since I was diagnosed with the fracture that John has been able to type a blog post for me.

Please pray for both of us. I am improving, and hope to work on the blog post I started writing on March 7th. I expect to be doing a little typing by the end of next week, but I don’t think I should write that whole post in one sitting. And pray for John as he balances all of his obligations with helping me. I miss blogging. I miss my readers. May God protect all of us during this trying time, reminding us of His sovereignty and love.

 

Rejoice With Us

TheLordIsMyStrengthWoodcarving
One of the best reasons for sending out prayer requests is that more people can praise and glorify the Lord when He graciously answers those prayers. His loving provision strengthens our faith and assures us of His intimate care.
We conducted three interviews for the PCA job. Two of the candidates were very good, but one particularly stood out. I confess to feeling anxious about the transition, since the PCA who is leaving has been with us for twelve years. But mostly I feel relieved and grateful. The Lord has once again shown Himself to be faithful — obviously He will also be faithful in this transition period.
Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. Please rejoice with us at the Lord’s goodness.

Beautiful Writing Should Be More Than Beautiful Writing

John and I, remembering that we met online 22 years ago, celebrated Valentine’s Day by watching You’ve Got Mail. Some time ago, I blogged about how I love the writing in this movie, and Friday night I again found myself wishing that The Outspoken TULIP afforded me the opportunity to write the sort of things that the characters in the story wrote to each other.

I couldn’t resist wondering how I might sneak in an occasional post that centered merely on writing for the sake of writing. Who knows? Some of my readers might enjoy it!

As I searched YouTube for a hymn yesterday, I decided on a contemporary one that I learned through our church. I chose it because of its clear picture of God’s grace in bringing sinners to salvation. But as I reviewed various versions of videos, I was mesmerized by the beautiful writing in this hymn. After watching You’ve Got Mail the night before, perhaps I felt particularly aware of how the hymn writer organized the words. At any rate, I couldn’t help marveling at  the power in the phrases.

The hymn writer did something that the characters in the movie could never have done — he used beautiful writing to honor and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. If I want to write beautifully, may I write beautiful words that draw attention to His grace.

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2020 Hasn’t Started Off Very Well

Several friends of mine are suffering through major trials right now.

Some focus on the circumstances, praying exclusively for relief from their hardships. Yes, they look to the Lord, and that’s definitely a good starting place. One friend hasn’t been open to spiritual conversation in years, but her current situation compels her to ask for prayer. She knows that she needs God to intervene.

Another friend is going through trials much more serious than those of the first friend I’ve mentioned. And her trials have been relentless. Yet even as she tells me through tears about all the severe affliction she’s enduring, she hastens to proclaim God’s goodness. She even praises Him for opportunities He gives her in her circumstances to tell others about her Savior.

Pain surrounds a lot of believers right now. Perhaps this new year has also been unkind to you. If so, follow the example of my second friend. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, trusting His sovereignty. He will give you a beautiful perspective.

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I Thought I Knew, But I Still Have No Idea

When Christ convicted my 17-year-old heart of sin and then sent somebody to tell me that He paid for my sin, I knew that I owed him my very life. Like most teenagers, I was absolutely convinced that I understood both the magnitude of His atoning work on the cross and the depths of my sin.

I knew neither.

In my prayer time lately I’ve been pondering the fact that I really don’t understand how truly wretched I am. The Lord occasionally gives me glimpses of how horrendous my sin actually is, but much of a time I struggle to see how profoundly sinful I am. I know it intellectually, but my emotions resist that knowledge. And thus I confess that I have no idea how great a debt I owe the Lord.

Praise the Lord for erasing that debt, even as He shields me from the devastating realization of it. In heaven, once He frees me from the effects of sin that continue to cling to me, He will show me the extent of His mercy. Then I’ll understand how much I owe.

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Intimacy With God May Be Less Complicated Than You Think

Pensive Woman02As my girlfriends and I approached our 30th birthdays, panic and despair set in. We watched other women in the church take wedding vows while we spent lonely Saturday nights without dates. We joked sardonically that we differed from trash because trash gets taken out once a week. (The men in the church failed to appreciate our humor.)

One friend met regularly with me for a while to talk and pray about coping with our singleness. She began encouraging me to develop intimacy with the Lord, explaining only that she sometimes fantasized about Him. I don’t know if those fantasies were romantic — and I don’t think I want to know. At the time, however, I desperately wanted Him to remove the pain and loneliness I felt.

My friend’s exhortations to cultivate intimacy with God left me with the impression that such intimacy came through mystical experiences. I assumed that I would feel His presence in a way that would obliterate my desire for a husband. Obviously, my motives for wanting intimacy with Him were entirely selfish.

Yet the Lord does call Christians to a type of intimacy with Him that has nothing to do with our romantic desires. Even better,  we don’t have to search for spiritual experiences in order to enjoy this intimacy. All we have to do is Continue reading