Being You

Rose, Blossom, Bloom, Flower, Love

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Dare to be different – let your own beauty shine

Your gifts to the world is as special as mine

Don’t let anyone belittle, condemn, or gainsay

Just be the beautiful you, and do it your way

Your strength and your talent truly inspire

So just be you – and set the world on fire

 

Padre

 

For my friend and little sister in Christ, Johnisha (Joe)

Sanctuary

Audience, Concert, Music, Entertainment

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Psalm 32:7-8 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Have you ever felt the need to hide away?  This isn’t the same thing as running away, it is rather a taking of shelter while we recuperate, regroup, and refresh.   The psalmist said God is one (The One) of those refuges.   Whether it is as I have recently discussed, David using “hiding place” as a metaphor for God’s physical protection (like David found at En Gedi); or as a more general acknowledgement of God’s all loving concern for us when we are in more emotional or spiritual distress – the fact remains clear that we can shelter in him.

No matter what our trouble – the Psalm continues – God will protect us.  “If God is for us, who can stand against us?”  But this isn’t a shadowy cave, or being in bed with the sheets puller over our heads.  It is a refuge in which we are emboldened in!

I really like this image of being surrounded with “songs” of deliverance.  Music is powerful.  It stirs our emotions.  It empowers and uplifts.  Have you ever noticed that a tune can restore you when you are down?  I have had the experience of worship songs that are so mighty in both their lyrics and beat that I felt that same power radiating through me.  This passage says that in our times of need, God will envelope us with music that assures us of our deliverance.  Wow – just wow!

Dianne kept our home filled with music, whether she was making it herself, or whether it was just being played from a device.  This flow of melody gave our house a constant feel of safety and contentment.  This too comes to my mind when I read this passage.

This sanctuary of God’s presence and the idea of being surrounded by the musical promises of deliverance were dear to Dianne.  This passage appears in her blog and her notes as an important point of focus.  And I am happy I had the opportunity to focus on it today.

God has truly been a hiding place for me in the grief I have suffered.  He has provided me with friends and family that have lifted me up.  Yesterday, I had a visit from two dear sisters in Christ, who were very personifications of “songs of deliverance,” as they were tangible reminders that I am not alone, and that I am loved.  Later today, a brother from church is planning to visit as well, to be a support and help in the planning of Dianne’s memorial service (a task too close to home for me to do efficiently despite the fact that I have experience in planning the funerals and memorials of others).  It makes me smile as I write this that this brother is the worship leader at our assembly.  Now what better metaphorical image can I have for the coming of “songs of deliverance?”

See the Psalmist captured this all so well!

Padre

 

In Agreement By Our Love

 

This song has always been a favourite of mine.  It calls to mind Jesus’ prayer for His people to be as one, even as He and the Father are one.  It strikes at call of the Hebrews writer for “Brotherly love to continue (Heb. 13:1),” and John’s admonition of I John : 7-8 for us to “love one another.”
Lyrics:
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
By our love
We can make it come together
By our love
Yes, the Spirit of our God
By our love
We can make each other better
By our love, by our love
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love
By our love
We can make it come together
By our love
Yes, the Spirit of our God
By our love
We can make each other better
By our love, by our love
By our love
We can make it come together
By our love
Yes, the Spirit of our God
By our love
We can make each other better
By our love, by our love
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love
Source: Musixmatch

As I was doing my daily study, which these days also includes readings from Dianne’s prayer and study journals I found reference to the power of such loving unity.  Matthew 18:19 tells us,  “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”  Agreement in love.  Love in agreement.  Let us do so, then as Pastor Vince reminded us on the weekend, look out for the tidal wave to come.

Padre

Ἡ φιλαδελφία μενέτω

ChicagoTribune

Let’s face it, families can be difficult. I have in my time been disappointed by and with siblings, and other near relatives.  And I am sure that I have been more than a bit of a let down to them as well, at least from time to time.  I may not always like what my nearest and dearest do, and some times maybe not even like them much. But, I do always love them.

Our spiritual family is no different.  I have over the years been let down by brethren and I have felt alienated over minor perceived slights, or trivial doctrinal points. But they remain my brothers and sisters in Christ. I continue to love them.

The Hebrews writer saw this. He reminded the church to “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters (Hebrews 13:1).” This unending compassion and concern for our spiritual family is at the heart of our fellowship. While it is our relationship with our older brother, the First Born -Jesus, that is central, He prayed that we His followers, and siblings be united as He and the Father are united. In fact in John 13 He states, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another (vs 34).”

The parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) is an excellent tool.  We often get caught up with the lost son who squandered his inheritance. What isn’t always so apparent is that his elder brother is lost too.  Yes, he remained at home, he was hard working, and loyal to his father.  What he lacked was that “brotherly love” of Hebrews 13.

In verses 25f we read;

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours [not “my brother”] who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

The message is clear, we should be as happy with the return of our “disappointing” brothers as much as the Father is. Further, they need not even have strayed in any spiritual way.  If we find fault we should seek to be reconciled especially when the cause of estrangement may be down to us.  Remember none of us is perfect.

As I close this, I pray that I am open and loving to all my brothers and sisters. I ask that I be ever mindful of their feelings and needs.  I ask that, I never be the cause of division.  And that we all  strive to “Let brotherly love continue.”

Padre