The Angels Still Sing

“The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:19
This weekend, as I counted down the final minutes of 2011, I remembered to count my blessings. I whispered a quiet goodbye to what had been and embraced the hope of what will be in this new year of 2012.
Over the holidays I was reminded of the perplexities of life. How it can be filled at any given moment with both elation and disappointment, beauty and ugliness, darkness and light. And this is why we need a Savior. To help us focus our eyes and hearts on what is real and true and good. 
Sometimes the news headlines can cause us to trade faith for fear, make us forget that God is still in control. I wrote this poem years ago, when I needed to remember that, in spite of what we see in the world around us, there is still hope. That, beyond the noise of this life, the angels still sing. 
Just like they did when Christ was born. (Luke 2:13-14)
Just like they are doing now around the throne of God. (Revelation 5:11-12)
Can you hear them?

My Computer Lesson

Ok. It’s been way too long since I posted. But, in my defense, I have my “moody” computer to blame. It has been randomly shutting down and acting quirky in general. So much so that I find my whole way of life has been altered. What used to be a relatively easy process has become an extreme challenge. 

And this challenging ordeal has made me realize how computer-dependent I have become. I have learned the hard lesson that technology is like a fair-weathered friend. A nice thing to have around most of the time but you can never trust it completely.

My husband actually had the nerve to suggest I try using pen and paper, like in the old days. 🙂 Actually, I tried that the other day and it took me an hour to write down what would normally take about 10 minutes on the keyboard. I do like the feel of my pen gliding across a writing tablet of real paper at times. But, I confess that, most days, I find myself too impatient, eager to hurry up and finish whatever project I’m working on.

And today I have another incentive to write faster. You see, I am having to tap out my thoughts as fast as possible so as not to agitate the aforementioned “moody” computer. It’s like walking (or typing) on eggshells and, frankly, my nerves can’t take it anymore! 

Suffice it to say, I think there is a new computer in my future. At least I HOPE so.

Meanwhile, I am thankful for the lesson my computer has taught me because it served to highlight the truth of God’s unending grace. When technology fails, when people fail, when all else fails, he never will.

“He is the same yesterday, today and forever” and it is comforting to know he is a faithful friend. One that can always be trusted.

Father, thank you for lovingly showing me that I can truly depend on you. Help me to cast off anxiety and rest in your care. Amen.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

A Ray of Hope

What do you do when things don’t turn out like you hoped they would?

When people are unpleasant and unkind?

When the computer shuts down and the electric bill goes up?

 And the world around you seems to be getting darker, light fading fast?

There are times when life feels like someone keeps turning up the heat forcing us to constantly readjust the thermostat in hopes of some relief. 

We know God has given us his Word to guide us, the Holy Spirit to comfort us and the stories of the saints to inspire us.

But sometimes we forget. 

I forget. 

Ånd in the midst of these long, hot days of unrelenting summer, I wonder how long it will be before my spiritual thermostat gets locked in automatic trust mode? God who is true and just and, most assuredly, worthy of trust reminds me that he works all things together “for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28)

This gives perspective to the struggles. And our wilting faith is revived when we see him at work in our lives. Bringing his purposes to pass. Causing us to breathe in the cool air of contentment and to sing his praises no matter what climate we find ourselves in.

 Pure miracle.

In his book, A Gentle Thunder, Max Lucado uses the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand found in John chapter 6 to illustrate this point. The Lord shows us what faith can do, even in less than perfect circumstances, even when we are weak.

“When the disciples were weak. Jesus was strong.
 When the disciples had no faith, Jesus had faith. He thanked God.
 For what? The crowds? The pandemonium? The weariness? The faithless disciples?
 No, he thanked God for the basket of bread.
 He ignored the clouds and found the ray and thanked God for it.” 

Today, if you feel like you are living under a cloud, I pray that you will remember God’s faithfulness. And, when you lift your head to give thanks, may you find that ray – the ray of hope that God always provides for the wilting and weak. 


A New Reality Show

Does anyone remember what life was like before the “reality” show phenomenon? Whether many of these shows actually depict reality is a matter of debate. However, their popularity is undeniable. Why?

Could it be that people are hungry to connect with other people, even if it is a just a virtual connection?

 Some say watching these shows is an escape from the reality of their own lives. But perhaps the truth is that we are desperate to find out how others handle the struggles of our common human experience.

We learn from each other, for better or worse, as we share the good and the bad, the messy and the beautiful and all the ups and the downs of life.

Hoda Kotb, one of the hosts of the Today Show, has told the story of how she came to the decision to go public with her breast cancer ordeal. After undergoing mastectomy surgery, she met a stranger on a plane who began asking her questions and drawing out the secret which she had, to that point, kept safely hidden.

“Don’t hog your journey.  It’s not just for you. You can keep it all to yourself or you can choose to help people by sharing your story.”

Wise words.

And, as Christians, we have even more incentive to share our journey. We have been given the Great Commission to tell the world what God has done for us (Matthew 28:19-20). We have been told that we are the “light of the world” and that, rather than hide the light, we should let it be seen so that others might give praise to our heavenly Father (Matthew 5: 14-16).

But how many of us cringe at the thought of exposing ourselves? We do not want to share our weakness, our struggles, our pain. Pride tells us to keep up the appearance of strength. We might say we don’t want to bother anyone or bring anyone down. We might pretend we have it all together out of fear or the inability to accept our own reality.

The Word teaches that our weakness reveals the power of Christ. As we allow His grace to pour into our lives, the empty places fill and what emerges is a testimony to His greatness.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

My prayer today is that God would help us to acknowledge His presence in the story of our lives – that He would help us to embrace and admit our reality and then be willing to surrender it to the telling.

Because it is not for us only. It also belongs to all those who might be watching from the shadows, those who may be needing encouragement for their own journey.

When we loosen our grip and are obedient to share the truth, others are able to grasp hold of it. They are able to witness God’s enduring love and faithfulness and His power to help us through difficult circumstances.

It is in this honest humility, the display of God’s strength being made perfect in weakness, that the human spirit is elevated and hope-filled.That is when we see His light and His glory revealed. Now that is a reality show worth watching!