The Song | Sunday Respite 

Sunday Respite 1 Lent

PSALM 100 {The Message}

On your feet now — applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.

Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn’t make him.
We’re His people, His well-tended sheep.

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.

For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.

 The whole world is singing a song. It’s the song without words. It’s the song you were created to sing too. We forgot our song long ago, when we turned and ran away from God. But Jesus has come to bring us home to God—and give us back our song. So go on—sing your song! -Sally Lloyd-Jones

Sunday Respite 2 Song

40 Gifts of Lent  | Quotation: Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, Sally Lloyd-Jones; page 28, Sing Your Song

The Rescue

Gift 4-2015

He reached down from heaven and rescued me. Psalm 18:16

God will not only deliver his people out of their troubles in due time, but he will bear them up under their troubles in the mean time.

Upon God’s faithfulness rests our whole hope of future blessedness. Only as He is faithful will His covenants stand and his promises be honored. Only as we have complete assurance that He is faithful may we live in peace and look forward with assurance to the life to come. He will ever be true to His pledged word. He will never remove His loving kindness nor suffer His faithfulness to fail.

God will always be himself, and grace is an attribute of His holy being. He can no more hide his grace than the sun can hide its brightness. God’s grace is infinite and eternal.

Instead of straining to comprehend this truth, it would be better and simpler to compare God’s grace with our need. We can never know the enormity of our sin, neither is it necessary that we should. What we can know is that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.

He reached down from heaven to rescue us.

Gift 4-2015-

40 Gifts of Lent | The Rescue: Gift 4 | Quotations from: The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer; page 87, The Faithfulness of God; Page 102, The Grace of God. 

He is Risen | Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 2014

He is Risen 1

Photograph by Donna Harris of Lake Wylie, Charlotte, NC

He is Risen| Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent

COME! And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17

The resurrection of Jesus changes everything! His death is the death of death, and His resurrection is the resurrection of all things. He died for our sins and is raised for our justification. Oh, the wonder, marvel and gratitude that fills our hearts today. We are forgiven, we are beloved, and we are His!

He is Risen 4

Photograph by Donna Harris of a fountain in Charleston, SC

He is Risen

Photograph by Donna Harris 

About 40 Gifts of Lent

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

#LentChallenge
Jumping Tandem
Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday

A Father’s Rescuing Faith

Son Rescued

A Father’s Rescuing Faith | 40 Gifts of Lent | Gift 34

Today’s Reading:  Hebrews 8 – end

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. By faith … He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. Hebrews 11:1 and 27

It was several years ago that he found himself in a frightening predicament. He was in a serious situation, a crisis without a clear solution. He was racked with anxiety and fear. There was no holding back the tears, his body shaking with hard sobs and his mind straining to find equilibrium. His father was notified and with urgency went to his son, to rescue his son from harms way.

The son was so distraught with hopelessness that he didn’t hear the voice of his father say, “Son, I am here.”  Again the father said, “Son, it’s me…look at me.”

The son continued to cry into the palms of his hands and again his father repeated, “Look at me. Look at me. This is Dad, I’m here.” The son moved his hands from his face and began to look up towards the sound of his father’s voice. “Look at my eyes, son. Don’t take your eyes off mine.” The son fixed his gaze into his father’s eyes and the father asked his son, “Do you trust me?” “Yes”, replied the son. “Have I ever broken a promise I’ve made to you?”, asked the father. “No”, replied the son, with his eyes fixed steadily on his father.

The son’s hope was returned, believing and assured that his father would be with him through the end. Months and years went by and the father never broke his promise to his son, he was there to rescue him time and time again.

This chapter in the son’s story has two wonderful conclusions…the son was rescued twice. Once by his earthly father extending unconditional love and then by his Heavenly Father, extending the gift of grace. Because of receiving all of that, the son is living a better story now, with his eyes fixed on God and his faith growing strong. And what about the father?  From the very beginning, he never took his eyes off God…he was reflecting God’s grace to his son. When the son looked at his father, in way he saw Jesus, a reflection of God’s love for him, the beauty of a father’s rescuing faith.

(This is another redeeming story of God’s grace to our family)

 Faith Quotes to Ponder:

Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.” A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.  C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. Tim Keller, The Reason for God

The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in.  R.C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture

True faith means holding nothing back. It means putting every hope in God’s fidelity to His Promises. Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Son Rescued 2

About 40 Gifts of Lent 

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

#LentChallenge
Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday

I Dabbled in Paint and Found Rest

Blue Bird Rest copy

 I Dabbled in Paint and Found Rest | 40 Gifts of Lent | Gift 33

Today’s Reading:  Titus and Philemon and Hebrews 1 – 7

The promise of “arrival” and “rest” is still there for God’s people. God himself is at rest. And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God. Hebrews 4:9-10 

Our life is a day by day, hour by hour trusting in the promises of God to help guide us and rescue us and bring us to a place of rest. There is a gift held for us today. God is still holding out an offer of salvation rest.

I think it takes work to settle into God’s rest. I’ve asked myself what manic or compulsive hours will I give up in trade for the equivalent time to be still. Sometimes, you don’t get to decide what to give up in order to slow down, to discover rest. Sometimes life happens and you are forced to stop and search for rest.

I used to paint quite often, until it became too painful to hold a brush and to bend over a canvas. The pain was so great that it was hard for me to experience God’s rest. I struggled to count it all joy, and I fought against unbelief.

I’ve come to believe that God’s promise of rest happens everyday, hour by hour no matter how difficult or how gloriously happy life happens to be. It is true that God cannot lie and he will not break his promise and so I made the choice to take him at his word…to believe.  And there was rest through the pain.

And now with days and hours between then and now, I realize that rest may look differently to me from day-to-day, but that doesn’t nullify the fact that God’s rest never changes. That concept of God’s rest being constant, regardless of how I feel or how the day is going totally awakened and rejuvenated my thinking. I can enter into God’s rest everyday. He extends it to me and I need to receive it.

I experienced rest through pain and I experience it now as I begin to paint again. To relax and settle into a conversation with God, with brush strokes of praise, thanking him for the promise of rest this day and at this hour and forever more.

Be Still Rest

About 40 Gifts of Lent 

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

A Sincere Faith

A Sincere Faith

 A Sincere Faith | 40 Gifts of Lent | Gift 32

Today’s Reading: 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 2 Timothy 1:5

I looked at our family genealogy tree, tracing the branches and limbs from generation to generation. I stopped at a large limb with the names of my parents written in bold black ink and in smaller letters, written on thin branches growing from the limb, are the names of their four children, my siblings and me.

My parents modeled a strong faith in the Lord and loved the words in God’s book, taking great delight in reading and thinking about it throughout the day, so much so that God’s words became their language in conversation with us. They demonstrated to us what a sincere faith looks like, not only in how they lived but the way they taught us kids. This is a beautiful legacy to pass on through generation to generation! The roots of my parent’s genealogy tree are spreading out wide and growing deeper into a better story of trusting God.

It’s a beautiful thing to look at our own genealogy tree become deeply rooted in Christ and growing strong limbs of faith…our children. It’s an amazing thing to add small branches, our grandchildren, growing from those limbs and to imagine more grand and glorious trees with roots spreading out wide and growing deeper into a better story of faith in God.

I love that my children are able to talk about the genuine and sincere faith that they remember about their grandmother, my mom and the conversations they continue to have with my husband’s mom. I’m so thankful for the legacy our children have…for all of those conversations that were and are seasoned with grace and the fragrance of Christ.

It is a beautiful gift to watch our tree grow stronger, to add little branches of faith sprouting from those limbs.

A Sincere Faith 1 About 40 Gifts of Lent 

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

#LentChallenge

The Discipline of Peace and the Secret of Contentment

The Discipline of Peace The Discipline of Peace and the Secret of Contentment | 40 Gifts of Lent | Gift 30

Today’s Reading: Philippians and Colossians  

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.   Philippians 4: 4-12

He writes about rejoicing and praying with thanksgiving. He writes about a transcending peace and learning the secret of being content when he’s imprisoned in chains.

Often, we want to intercept all of the rough stuff happening…to just stop thinking about it and to do something else to replace the anxious thoughts. But when we chase after a false peace, its like chasing after butterflies. The butterfly never stays in one place. It flits here and there and there and here and stays only for a moment in search for sweet nectar.

I believe we all are searching for some measure of peace, a sweet calming nectar to quench the sorrow, the fears, the anxiety in the fray. I hazard to say that peace will not be found without the discipline to pursue Jesus. Because the rough stuff will not miraculously disappear and all our efforts to circumvent it will be short-lived.

Where is contentment and peace found?  It’s found in the doctrine of the gospel. It’s found in worshipping Jesus. It’s found in Christ alone. It has nothing to do with what I do but it’s all about what Jesus will do and has done. The discipline of peace is learning who God is. The rough stuff may not go away for a long, long time…but the never-ending peace of rejoicing and thinking and loving the King of Kings will strengthened this humble soul to learn contentment.

So, I reach for real peace: To rejoice in the Lord always, praying with thanksgiving, thinking about words that will transform my thoughts, and to love the pure, lovely and admirable truth of the Lord. Through this discipline of peace, I will, by God’s grace, begin to learn the secret of contentment.

The Discipline of Peace 1

About 40 Gifts of Lent 

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

#LentChallenge
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