How Do You Set Your Mind?

February 9, 2015

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The focus of the children
How beautiful and loving
Need direction from your word
Because you give life

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Love awakens us to joy
Arising each morning to pray
I will listen first then speak
Respond to the truth

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Truth always comes through kindness
Although at first it’s painful
To see the lies I live by
Keeps me in the darkness

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What are the lies that destroy
Do I really want to know
It’s painful to discover
My own false beliefs

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It takes courage to seek God
Not knowing what you will find
Can I believe He is real
Loves me as a son

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Such beauty among the young
Fresh, alive and full of love
Put your hand on the children
Trouble lies ahead

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We will focus on the joy
The promises and the friendship
Because there is certain hope
For those who believe

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I won’t live in fear
God promised, “I’ll be with you
Never leave or forsake you”
Courage will follow
When your love is much larger
Than all the trouble around

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I will set my mind
My heart and soul long for
The gift to live free
Focused on His greatest gift
His inexpressible love

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I was asked to speak this week by Lael Caldwell who leads a “Round Table of Business Men and Women” on the topic of “How Do You Set Your MInd?” I chose to share this message with the Woodmont Hills family yesterday. If you would like a copy you can email me at terrysmith5@comcast.net and I will give you the address where you can order it.

Last night I sat with Charlotte at a “Sweetheart Banquet” and was served and entertained by a group of amazing young people. The above reflections come out of listening and responding to yesterday’s experience and the reading of the Psalms this morning. Psalm 9 and 39 along with meditating on John 15:1-17 was the focus this morning.

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Setting my mind each day is absolutely the most important thing I do to take care of myself.

 

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A Gentle Touch

February 7, 2015

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I take refuge in the Lord
As a child I came to him
In the night I sought his help
Alone and crying

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His gentle love came
In the silence tenderly
Her nurturing hands
Touched and held me with kindness
My grandmother knew how to care

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Lost her at seven
And other dear ones who cared
Hatred won the day
Trauma entered my pathway
Loss of love ones became real

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What can a child say
No words can explain the pain
There’s no one who hears me cry
Alone with my tears
I was held in the darkness
Looking back I can see it

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When I became big
I read this story of love
A gentle man came
His life attracted my soul
Compassion drew me to him

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The little boy remembers
In the night I found comfort
This mysterious love came
Gently held my soul

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I fell in love with Jesus
His kindness and compassion
Has healed my soul with wonder
Touched my soul with joy

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Fear and fretting blind
They will hide his compassion
Rob the soul of life
My God says, “Don’t be afraid!
I’ll not leave you desolate.”

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This friendship calls me
To not believe “in” Jesus
But believe Jesus
Present and counting my tears
With His promise to help me

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Every one has a story. I found that good reflection creates space to remember the past and look ahead to the future. I cannot define the future when my anxiety and fears keep me from seeing past the present. Whose words I trust when the trouble comes becomes my decision. I believe God is my friend and your friend. I will not allow my perception of him to be defined by the people who claim to be his followers or those who react to others perception. Religion fails and people fail. Looking back on the abandoned child the mystery of love showed up for me that is undeniable. I certainly can’t prove it nor can anyone disprove it. What the “trouble” did was caused me to get into a quest to know what is really true. Was the one who claimed “to give life and give it abundantly” a liar, crazy or telling the truth? I decided to be a seeker of what is real in this world and I found his teaching and the way he lived resonate with my deepest soul wound. I made it my aim fifty-four years ago to find out what makes sense in life because what happened to me as a child. I did not want the same thing to happen to my children. Psalms became my mother and Proverbs became my father. I found their words trustworthy and enlightening then and now!

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Psalm 37 prompted these thoughts this morning. All the best on your journey.

I Will Set My Mind

February 4, 2015

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I will set my mind
The freedom I have each day
A love without end
No one can fathom this love
You are beloved beyond words

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The Master Truth Speaks
You are His Beloved Child
A truth I am certain of
A free gift from God
This gift is for all people
The condition is “Believe”

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Yes, you have a part
To decide to receive it
To believe with all your heart
Engage your being
Heart, soul, mind and strength
I have been surprised by joy

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No one’s excluded
This treasure that is hidden
Waiting to be found
I decided to seek truth
Found unconditional love

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It will take your best thinking
Knowledge is at the center
Honesty to discern truth
Trust to follow Him

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Religion can deceive
Pride can hide the path to love
Lust keeps me at the center
And power can kill
My mind wants to know what’s real
I have the freedom to choose

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Lael Caldwell leads a round table of business people who are committed to helping each other be the best they can be. She asked me to speak about setting the mind each day to live life that is joyful, free and productive in this world. There are five things I do each day to live a life that’s  life giving.  The Name of this group she calls “Define, Align and Achieve.” Reflection on the meaning of Love is the first one. Reading of Hebrew poetry and getting advice from Solomon in Proverbs sets my mind for the day. I would love to hear ways that you set your day that brings life to you and those around you. By the way the fruit of setting my mind each day is I laugh more, cry when appropriate, don’t take myself too seriously and see the beauty in each person I meet. Psalm 4 and Proverbs 4 has some real secrets I have found.  All the best!

Can I Believe Your Delight

February 2, 2015

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Can I believe you
That you take delight in me
It is so foreign
To the way I think of you
The God of the Universe

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The tragedies of this world
Overwhelming suffering
Injustice screaming so loud
Where can I find you

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The greatest surprise
When I focused on one man
One who claimed to be with you
Says he looks like you
Maker of the Universe
Calls himself the Son of Man

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Filled with compassion
Touched the woman at the well
Offered her living water
Surprised with kindness
He knew her story so well
It changed the way she saw God

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A song of hope comes
The pinhole of light comes through
I feel the tension
I choose to take the long view
His promises restore me

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You light up my mind
When I focus on your love
Your presence comforts my soul
Your word restores me
Though circumstances fail
My feelings deny your care

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You delight in me
I choose to trust in your words
You delight in me

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Meditation on the Psalms each morning opens me up to a way to process the reality of life. The ups and downs of human behavior, my own and others is exposed. God enters in the noise of my soul and gives me a focus. In desperation I cry out and God comes in the stillness to comfort the human heart and gives a certain hope. I am surprised by His delight. Psalm 2, 32, 62, 92 and 122 give the long view.

You Are His Delight

February 1, 2015

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What’s it take for man to see
A God who delights in him
Who’s smiling with arms outstretched
For those who fear Him

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Fear means one who stands in awe
Of love that’s demonstrated
Love and forgiveness lavished
On those who’ll receive

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Believing is the key
Knowledge is available
For those who will search
Who will hunger for the truth
Who long to know what is real

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God never forsakes
Those who seek with their whole heart
That is a promise
This revelation is true
It has been tried and tested

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“God wants me to see him, be with him and draw my life from His smile.” A. W. Tozer from his book “Pursuit of God.”

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For more read Psalm 31.

Gift of Forgiveness

January 31, 2015

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Looking back I see
The blind spots in my own life
Born of ignorance
Then the intentional wrongs
They can be overwhelming

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The blind spots are important
Learning points to remember
Because they are there I see
The damage I’ve done

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I’m responsible
For the suffering of those
Given to my care
Children, family and friends
I found forgiveness with God

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To face the truth about myself
Is a surprising gift to all
When love becomes the focus
And forgiveness reigns

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I forgive myself
God chose to forgive my sins
My heart was broken
When I saw the price he paid
Incomprehensible love

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I’ve sought forgiveness
From those I know I have hurt
From those I don’t know
I pray God covers us both
With gentleness and mercy

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In stillness I come
I am focused on His love
With no one but God
I draw near seeking His mind
And I discover His heart

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He has favored me
Claimed me as “His Beloved”
This promise given to all
Is sealed with His blood
Established by resurrection
Embraced by trust in His words

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I practiced feeding this truth by reflecting on the words given in the Psalms this morning. Psalm 31, 91 and 121. The judgment of my own heart is so great that if I don’t establish who I trust in the morning I am manipulated by my worldview and the worldview of others who also hide behind the noise in the heart.

He Counts Your Tears

January 26, 2015

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When I am afraid
I will trust in you, O God
It’s your words I trust
How can mortal man hurt me
In God I trust; I will not fear

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Record my lament
You keep record of my tears
You even count them

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You always get the blame God
For the suffering and the pain
It is man’s abuse of man
Where are you, “O man?”

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In God I will trust
He’s the one with compassion
I see the heart of man hurt
Abuse and deceive
Give God the blame for lying
And not look in the mirror

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You have delivered my soul
Met me in desperation
Given your presence of love
In stillness I find

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I know the story
How God’s love became a man
He offered “abundant life”
I was skeptical
I looked closely at the man
A man of sorrows and grief

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He met the lonely
The broken and abandoned
Was gentle and kind
Gave hope to the hopeless ones
I know I was one of them

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I wept when I saw
The way he lived and he died
His personal touch
Reaches the most broken ones
He counts each person “Beloved”

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I once was desperate. Now I meet with desperate people. I’m desperate again. This time I bring hope to desperate people. Every human being is precious and needs to know they count. I discovered a God who not only counts the tears but sees the person and is pursuing each one. They don’t need my answers but need someone who is present listening and giving what I can. Can God really be that close? Psalms 26, 56, 86, 116 and 146 opened a window to an awareness of someone who is there with love and understanding.

Anguish Healed

January 25, 2015

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Overwhelmed with anguish
The pain and loss is so great
Does anyone understand
The devastation

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No friends to comfort
Loses of my dear love ones
Where is God who cares
Why is this happening now
Can anyone answer me

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The cry in the human soul
There are no easy answers
God promises to confide
In those who fear Him

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I cannot fathom
A God who lets this happen
Suffering and grief
What is it I am missing
Do I really want to know

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Truth hurts and it heals
The tragedy in my soul
Comes down to two things
I must face the truth about me
I must face the truth about God

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“Fear” does not mean “Be afraid”
It means I must face greatness
Of the love of God revealed
To my shattered soul

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The consequences
Of the choices I have made
I am destitute
The poverty in my soul
Is hidden from all to see

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The confusion inside me
With the unanswered questions
Were cleared up when I focused
On the love of God

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He promised to never leave
To meet me in my anguish
To forgive me of my wrongs
To renew and restore

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I will trust in Him
Gives victory over death
Carries my burdens

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Insight only comes
After one chooses to trust
The Giver of life

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May you be blessed by the Lord
Maker of heaven and earth
One who understands your need
Gave all to forgive

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These reflections will be enhanced by reading Psalm 25, 55, 85, 115 and 145. Sarah Young, an amazing therapist and teacher, offers insight to the anguished soul in her book “Jesus Calling.” 

The Father’s Touch

January 24, 2015

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What do I yearn for
Where does my heart go when still
I will seek your face
When you appear I’ll see your face
I have set my heart on you

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My weaknesses still cry out
The sadness-es all around
So many lost in nothing
My inner soul weeps

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The little sparrow
Finds a place to rest and sleep
God knows what is happening
I’ll praise His greatness
Enter into communion
With my Father who loves me

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You’re my sun and shield
Light to find my way today
Protection from enemies
Angels to attend
To all those who will trust you
Who seek you with all their heart

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Your power’s displayed
You do the impossible
When you are trusted
You surprise with your answer
Light comes, love’s demonstrated

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Trust takes away fear
Anxieties are dispelled
I’m surprised by joy
Your living presence reveals
A Father in touch with you

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There is no trouble
That he does not understand
And promises to take action
Of all the voices
I can choose who I will trust
A gift from the Father’s touch

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I have fallen many times
Failed to trust, done it my way
Suffered the consequences
Felt desperation

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I arise with His Spirit
Renewed by Eternal Love
Accepted, forgiveness given
Live today in peace

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Reflections after reading Psalm 24, 54, 84, 114 and Proverbs 24. Sarah Young speaks to the promises in the pain in her book “Jesus Calling.”

Seeking

January 23, 2015

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God looks to see if any
Are seeking to understand
Who’re longing to know His heart
Who really love Him

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Some people are fools
Many say, “There is no God”
“There is no one who does good”
Fear paralyzes
They are overwhelmed with dread
Restore your people with love

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Let me be one who’s seeking
Who walks in the light of love
Who forgives betrayers
One who forgives self

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You alone understand me
Your Spirit is comforting
Explains to the Father’s heart
Meets me where I am

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Give me your vision
I am larger than my pain
Your love is greater
Than all the circumstances
Your promises restore me

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Creator of all
Master of all living things
You know what I need to learn
I sit in silence
Waiting with expectation
I pray you’ll find me watching

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Reflections after reading Psalm 23, 53 and 83 as I consider the world I live today, January 23, 2015.

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Dedicated to my friend, Rick Healy who is a “Seeker.”

One Definition of God

January 22, 2015

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He’s gentle and kind
Like a Mother and Father
All wrapped up in One

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My mother left me
Abandoned her four children
She was very sick

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God knows the trouble
Each of his children will face
He comes seeking you
My challenge is consider
He called himself “Son of “Man”

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Don’t let religion block you
The hypocrisy and lies
The real God loves you dearly
Remember this truth
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This definition of God is out of fifty-four years of seeking to know the mind of God through meditation and reflection on His Story. I have chosen to live in response to the mercy and love revealed through the window of His story in the Bible. God’s gentle hand is on you and is close to hear and respond to your deepest needs.

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The following poem is an excerpt from the book “A Transplanted Soul” by Charlotte B. Smith

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“…..when the Son of Man comes, will he find
faith on the earth.” Luke 18:8

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Let that be me, Lord

one who continues to pray
and doesn’t give up
one who keeps my heart
turned toward you
Help that be me, Lord

 

Let that be my children
and my grandchildren,
my descendants as long
as my line shall last

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Let them be found faithful
to the end,
Oh, Lord, that you will find faith on the earth!

 

This is my prayer, Lord,
that I send up ahead
on their behalf….

1-10-2010

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I Believe

January 21, 2015

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“I believe in
Christ,
like I believe
the
sun
not because
I can see it,
but by it
I can see
everything”
     C. S. Lewis

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Understanding leads to life
Knowledge will help get you there
Seeking with all of your heart
Will let the light come
Proverbs 21:16

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I know what to seek
It is righteousness and love
It leads to prosperity
With life and honor
Relationships will flourish
Real friendships are developed
Proverbs 21:21

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The word righteousness is not self-righteousness but it is the commitment to the best interest of the other person and justice for all.The book of Proverbs has fathered me giving counsel and insight into love, money, sex and power.

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Victory will come
Accessing a private time
Wisdom will be discovered
In stillness I come
Waiting with expectation
For the healing light of love
Proverbs 21:31

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Music In My Soul

January 20, 2015

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There is music in my soul
I’ve trained to practice basics
My body is the instrument
My soul holds the strings

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When the strings get tight
And stress gets unbearable
A surprising sound
When I surrender my soul
Music flows that brings comfort

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I draw near to God
A daily practice I’ve found
When I feel good or feel bad
He always comes near
That is the promise he made
One I choose to trust today

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The winds on the sea
Can toss the soul all about
The storm and the rain bring grief
I learned this one thing
When I’ve set my sail to seek
The storms have become a gift

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This mystery comes
To all and not just a few
Who choose to seek love
To be defined by what’s true
To align the soul with joy

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Freedom is the fruit
Peace passes understanding
My mind and heart are captured
Knowledge will illuminate
Hope is born in the darkness

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I interviewed a young musician years ago and asked him how he played the instrument so well. He said, “My coach is a concert violinist. Every day she pulls out her instrument and practices the basics until she gets the sound out of the instrument she wants. I do the same.” My instrument is my body. My soul holds the strings. I found the coach of life eager to train me to be loved and love. Psalm 20 holds promises I have found to be true. The music in the Psalms is what I train to practice. All the best!

Hidden Surprise of Joy

January 19, 2015

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There’s a hidden truth
Just like there is hidden sin
I’ve been blind to both of them
One crushes my soul
The other heals all my wounds
Love’s revealed to those seeking

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My eyes were opened
When I discovered the truth
About me and God
Breaking down the barriers
Comes when all is in the light

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His intimate eyes
Are seen by those who revere
Who are in awe of His love
I’ll never give up
Seeking what is real and true
I have been surprised by joy

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In Psalm 19 it speaks of things hidden and things that are plain. In Psalm 33 he speaks of intimacy with those whose hope is in His unfailing love. These two Psalms read slowly and thoughtfully out loud take a person to the inner chamber of the soul. The mysterious place is where God dwells in the heart of everyone. Be still and listen.

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Today is Charlotte’s birthday.   She is the treasured  surprised gift from God  and my deepest and cherished soul mate.  She brings the joy!

Invitation

January 18, 2015

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An Invitation
A way to live that makes sense
Thoughts to consider

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A way to live that brings peace
A way to live that brings hope
A way to live that brings joy
The freedom to love

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That’s what I looked for
As a child what I longed for
As a man I came searching
Found the great surprise
My God was looking for me
Gives inexpressible love

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Yes, it’s experiential
The door way is on the bottom
In the brokenness He comes
Seeking to comfort
In my personal despair
He gives the greatest blessing

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Comfort in the loss
Forgiveness in betrayal
Compassion and love
For me and for the others
The massive failure we feel

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Those who betrayed me
And for the ones I betrayed
Inexpressible
Love given to each of us
With gentleness and mercy

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Knowledge is what I needed
Hidden information came
Brought certainty to this love
My mind was captured

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I chose to believe
My heart leaped with the wonder
Incomprehensible love
Was revealed through one
Who chose to be one of us
And offer “abundant life”

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This love is hidden
Ages and generations
Have discovered this
God is closer than your blood
He is the air that you breathe

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God’s my friend, indeed
I come each morning seeking
To stay close to him
Find healing in His counsel
He reminds me who I am

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Chosen and Beloved
Favored and given his peace
Empowered by His Spirit
To see and bring hope
To proclaim with compassion
His personal love for all

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It’s time to come out
Reveal everlasting love
God loves you personally
Not talk but action
Each day you can meet with Him
Receive His love and give it

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These words are not an invitation “to church” or “religion.” These are words born out of a quest I began fifty-four years ago. God is real! God is present! And He loves you! In silence I began this quest seeking to know if this love was real. I found these words “abundant life.” I found these words not only true but beyond my imagination. God is my friend. God is your friend! We can meet with Him daily and interact on the deepest soul level. I always honor my questions. He has always kept His promises.

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Psalm 18 gives language to this love.