Friday, February 19, 2010

Strong, Fierce Love

Strong, Fierce Love
I may never know
How many hopeless hearts surround me;
I may never know
How many thirsty souls for God.
I may never know
Of their silent isolation -
Desperate for peace,
Desperate for love.

I may never know
Of the wilderness they've travelled;
I may never know
Of the danger that they face.
I may never know
Of their private desolation -
Desperate for mercy,
Desperate for grace.

Lord, fill me with Your love that is fierce.
Saturate me with Holy Love
That is able to pierce
Through the darkness and pain,
Bringing healing again
To an empty heart that's calling for You.
Lord, I am a vessel to use
For the purposes that no one else
But You can choose.
Lavishly pour,
Fill me up more and more,
With Your strong, fierce love.


Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge
between us and Christ's love for us?
There is no way!!
Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I am absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Romans 8:35-39 The Message

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lord, Please Hold Me While You Show Me

Lord, please hold me

While You show me

Your Will

Amid this circumstance that I don’t understand.

Father, hold me,

While You show me

Your action –

For this all seems so chaotic and unplanned.

I’m all alone, it’s so dark:

Please shine Your light

So I can see.

I’m clinging tight with both hands -

I need to feel Your presence,

To hear Your gentle guarantee

That You will hold me

While You show me

That You are good,

That You are good,

Your love surrounds the whole;

Father, hold me

While You show me

That You are ever, always in control.


“And we know that all things work together for good to those that love God, to those who are the called according to His purposes.”
Romans 8:28( NKJV)

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His love endures forever.” Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pure, Honest Love

Not everything that can be counted counts.
Not everything that counts can be counted. ~ Albert Einstein

A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation. ~ Mark Twain

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points our how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; Credit belongs to the man who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcomings. But who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. ~Theodore Roosevelt

A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker. ~ Buddha

Pure Honest Love

The pure, honest love of a pure, honest man
Changes generations.

Pure, honest men devote themselves to the hard task
To make broken things beautiful,
To make crooked things straight,
To encourage and nurture
They build, they create.

Pure, honest men nurture stability
In the midst of chaos,
Despite the shadow of danger;
With the company of a friend,
For the eyes of a stranger.

Pure, honest men use their strength generously
Not for themselves, to gain trophies and awards
They use their strength protecting sisters and brothers.
Strong men take care of themselves, it is true, but,
Stronger men take care of others.

Pure, honest men give and give and give
One father devotes himself to his daughter
Nurturing her inner beauty;
In turn when she is a mother
Her son receives the touch of his duty.

Pure, honest men have pure, honest love
Bringing light, balance and harmony,
Pure love seeks to heal and repair.
Bringing hope, promises and trust
Honest love does not hide from despair.

A pure honest man
Lives his life in degrees of anonymity
Lifting up another soul higher,
He doesn’t say “me” – he always says “we”;
He defends the truth - he is not a liar.

With enthusiasm, he plays;
With compassion, he prays.
Uncomplicated love he displays,
He is generous with praise.
He is transparent in his ways.

The pure, honest love of a pure, honest man
Changes generations.


Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22 NIV

Monday, February 2, 2009

An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Three eternal truths: things are not what they seem, the world is at war, and each of us has a crucial role to play. ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. ~Mother Teresa

Satan builds his strongholds in the shadow of our strengths. ~John Eldredge

The Devil is easy to identify. He appears when you're terribly tired and makes a very reasonable request which you know you shouldn't grant. ~ Fiorello La Guardia, former mayor of New York City

**DISCLAIMER...Kinda gross details specific to this cold and flu season present within this post.**

Sunday morning my oldest daughter broke family tradition. Since birth, all of my children, without exception, have had an uncanny timing of being violently ill only at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Not Monday at 11:30 a.m. so I can get them a sick appointment with the pediatrician, not Thursday at 4:30 p.m. after a majority of the day's schedule has been accomplished. Not even Sunday after lunch. Nope, Sunday 2:00 a.m.

There is frequently the need for laundry and a change of venue for sleeping, and one couch or another has been the best, and I usually find a place to sleep nearby, usually on the floor. With four children, we very easily formed a "sick routine" of what is needed (tissues/towel/bucket) a something to drink or eat (cracker/Jell-O water) and a favorite blanket. While they are getting settled, Dave and I would be making the altered plans for worship and how this was going to effect the day. Sometimes it meant having a sick child at church, or one us staying home with one or many. Whoever wasn't preaching would be the one who stayed up with the sick one(s) usually, but sometimes it has needed one of us to pull a prepared sermon or lesson plan out to cover responsibilities. The song The Sound of Sickness is found in this broadcast at 4minutes and 52 seconds in - very well done.

But this Sunday, A. was throwing up at 8:00 a.m. - and our concern and cleanup and plan alteration needed to happen very quickly. Getting A. settled and all things cleaned up, it was obvious to me that I was going to be sick, too. VERY SOON. I am never sick. The only times I have been queasy have been when I am pregnant.

I am not pregnant, so that isn't a part of the circumstances.

As I am hanging over the kitchen sink, I know the truth...Sick mom, sick kid - no one is going to have a single problem if I don't show up at church in leadership, yet I still feel this urgent, compelling need to be there. I am the Children Sunday School teacher, but the only children that have been in our Sunday School have been mine. "Why are you pressing my heart to do this, Lord? There won't be anyone else there. I'll just be getting other people sick if I go." But still, the compelling feeling is present. So our worship plan includes tag team and feeling very poorly, I get to church early.

And there are two new children waiting at the door, and the other adults that are there haven't met them before. As our lesson begins, their questions become very specific..."Why did God create the world?" "Did God really make the animals and people?" "Who is that man in a bathing suit bleeding on that cross?" "What is sin?" "Why can't God be around sin?" "Do I really have sin in my heart?" Needless to say, I quickly ditched my lesson plan and we began a walk down the Roman Road explaining sin, redemption and personal salvation. With two young, dirty hands holding mine, two young hearts said a prayer asking Jesus to forgive their sin and live in their heart.

I get choked up everytime I get the privilege to share Jesus with someone in this way, even more so when it is with a child. I pray that the seed of salvation and redemption is able to be planted deep, protected and nurtured in God's love. God's plan for Sunday had been in motion for weeks, and I didn't quite know it.

I had been at war all morning - war against viruses, war against germs, war against maternal instincts, war against common sense even. But it had also been spiritual warfare - there are no two ways about it. God's compelling voice was telling me He had a plan in motion. Satan is rarely the blunt, direct, transparent attacker, but rather Satan's workings are very subtle, sounding very close to good ideas when I am tired. The subtle workings of Satan tried to make sure I stayed at home, under the guise of the most loving, reasonable and understandable of reasons. I was nearly convinced that I shouldn't go to a place that God had already prepared for a different ending to the story.

When you feel the compelling, urging voice of God within your heart, listen closely and follow where He is leading you. Be strong in the Lord and in His plans for you.

Be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-11

Saturday, December 27, 2008


“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”~ Albert Einstein

Red, (narrating):”I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.” ~ Final lines from The Shawshank Redemption, based upon Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.” ~ George Iles

“Hope is the thing with feathers,
that perches in the soul,
and sings the tune without words,
and never stops at all.”
~ Emily Dickinson

“But even now there is hope left. I will not give you counsel, saying do this, or do that. For not in doing or contriving, nor in choosing between this course and another, can I avail; but only in knowing what was and is, and in part also what shall be. But this I will say to you: your Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains while all the Company is true.” ~ Galadriel: The Mirror of Galadriel, Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
Hope is my middle name.

That’s not a superlative metaphorical description of a sunny disposition, an aggressively positive personality or an exaggeration. Hope really is my middle name. It was never used much, except for by my mother and always as a pre-emptive alarm system…when I heard “Jessica Hope…” at the beginning of any sentence, I knew I better get there fast ‘cause I was in trouble or something was very important.

I always knew it was big stuff when “Hope” got involved. When Dave and I became engaged, I started looking at my name and understood that the choices I wanted to make were going to alter the way I used my name. My initials JHS were about to undergo a voluntary transformation and I spent thoughtful time just doodling my name in its many forms. Eventually, I chose to use my middle initial as from my maiden name, and created a symbol for my initials which was unique and expressive. It was working together very well until the love of my life said one thing, quite lightly and quasi-sarcastically, that stuck firm:

“If this is what you are going to do, that would make you ‘Hope-less.’”

Like the bell chiming for Rocky Balboa during his deepest point of inspiration and determination, this perspective caught me, inspired me to defend the place for hope in my life. “I will never be hopeless,” I told myself, “There will always be hope” I reminded myself with my own level of determination. And I swear there was a bell chiming in the corner as I was fixed within this cerebral contract with myself.

Hope is my middle name.

God’s presence in my life is this hope. It is a deeply aggressive hope, blood-thumping, life changing, transformational hope. Hope that looks the darkness square without wavering or cowering. Hope that brings its own first-aid kit patching up the wounds from spurious attack. Hope with muscle-bound purpose insisting ferociously “All is not lost, God is in control.” Hope that is fierce and roaring, filled with God’s power, facing impossible circumstances with divine solutions.

I have needed to draw from that well of aggressive hope more during these past 10 weeks than ever before. Several fronts within our lives collided together to create a “Perfect Storm” that decimated everything in its path. To write them all down would sound like I was exaggerating with explosive expertise. The circumstances have all been relentless, lined with live ammunition launched at us, the living, breathing, vulnerable targets.

And through this all, God has provided hope: defended hope, fortified hope, built structures with hope. God has brought hope.

Hope is my middle name.

"Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He has brought us, by faith, into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live. We rejoice, then, in the hope we have of sharing God's glory! And we also rejoice in troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God's approval, and his approval creates hope. This hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.” Romans 5:1-5 TEB