HYMNS


 

“Speak to one another with Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the LORD, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 5:19-20

I love traditions, and the older I get, the more I appreciate them. I started writing out some of my favorite old hymns to sing to my babies and kids as they were falling asleep a few years ago, and I often grab my list of songs, including these hymns, to remember the lyrics when I’m singing kids to sleep. I feel like the hymns double as peaceful songs to help them fall asleep and deep truths for them to think about. Do you appreciate hymns or introducing traditions to your kids? I’m linking some here; let me know if you have any favorites I’ve missed!

And Can it be That I Should Gain

As the Deer

Be Thou My Vision

Come Thou Almighty King

Come Thou Fount

Fairest Lord Jesus

For The Beauty of the Earth

How Great Thou Art

Just as I am

My Faith Has Found a Resting Place

O God Our Help in Ages Past

Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him!

This is My Father’s World

Thy Mercy My God

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

GENESIS 8:22

“While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)
There’s comfort in the stability of the seasons and in God’s promise of their steadiness; there will always be a time of growth and life, no matter how dark or dead things seem now.
“He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they give drink to every beast of the field…You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate… He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord!” {Psalm 104}

《Summer and winter,

Springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above,

join with all nature in manifold witness,

To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.》

PROVERBS 4:25


I took the kids for a walk today and I cannot count the amount of times I had to say “stay on the path.” If I wasn’t saying stay on the path, I was climbing into the thorny brush to pull Sam back on the path. It was a good reminder to me of how much patience and grace God must have for us, watching us make our own decisions– often leaving the path– yet steadily reminding us the path is the best way. While some trouble can meet us on the path, the path ensures we avoid so many avoidable dangers and troubles. And then, in the same way my love for Sam never changed no matter how many times I had to climb into thorns to get him, God’s love remains, even when we turn off the path of living for Him.

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” Proverbs 4:25

LIVING A QUIET LIFE

 

“Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands…”

1 Thessalonians 4:11

 

The afternoon rain is pattering on for the third day in a row, creating a hazy dome of wonder that makes the world feel smaller and the woods out our windows greener.  I have a beautiful image in my mind of the pattering of raindrops being heard through a screen door, the smell of earth and water wafting in with warm breezes.  A flickering candle glows brighter as the clouds grow thick, and the dark mood of the mid-day storm is lightened by the lilting jazz music coming from inside, meeting the summer rain at the screen door and creating a beautiful symphony to etch into the memory in my mind forever.

So distinct is this image, its like a memory I can’t remember until I experience it again and it all just seems so familiar, it must have happened before.  It must be a memory from my childhood; from a time when I was so young only the feelings and senses remain, because with every rain, I wish for a screen door, and at every chance I attempt to recreate it.  It’s so simple; so specific.  Yet, aren’t these the things that make us feel full?  These simple memories that draw upon our senses; the ones that create an entire portrait and experience that requires our full engagement and gives every part of our being something to dwell on?

“Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands…” Oh, how I long to live a quiet life, and yet oh, how my mind wants to wander to places it has no business being.  In this moment I wonder, what can compare?  To the sound of the birds and the crickets timing their melodies between the light rolls of thunder.  To the thickness of the summer air being swept away with faint hints of an autumnal breeze.  To the single crow reminding us of the season to come.  To the beauty of the greens so variant, and the leaves holding on tightly as they softly rustle and sway from the weight of the raindrops, thankful to be taking in the warm water.  This is the place my mind will rest.  This is the moment I will seek to dwell on as the world fights and begs for my attention.  It is here that my energy is released into the freeing sway of the trees, and I am free to feel and smell and soak in the glorious creation surrounding me.  My God my creator has set before me the path I’m meant to live and to be; who am I to look to the left or to the right for more, for different, to compare, or to judge.  My health depends on this quieting of the stress and anxiety and need to control.  As the beauty of this moment in quiet solitude holds firmly in my mind, I will return to my daily business of working with my hands, and working to love those set before me on my path.

LIGHT

 

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

 

I regularly open my eyes in the middle of the night to a shadowy form hovering over the side of my bed.  I rarely bother checking to see who it is anymore, and simply direct whoever it is that wondered in towards the pre-made pallet on the floor beside me.  But that’s because it’s become a little bit of a routine; almost all of our children take a turn every few nights, needing help and reassurance in the middle of the night.  I used to be more jumpy, and I would startle awake, grabbing for a light to reassure myself it was only one of the kids.  I would keep my cell phone under my pillow, just in case I needed it.

I’ve been doing a little study on light in the bible, and these verses are full of comfort.  With the internet we have access to all the grief in the world, and it can seem like a dark place, and the darkness can be paralyzing.  It can keep us from enjoying our life in the present, and it can cause stress and anxiety that harms our health.  To be mentally well we need clarity; we need to see clearly, and we need to have peace instead of stress.  Light is important to see in the dark and to make sense out of life.  God is light, and when we look to Him we can see clearly the meaning of life and our purpose in it.  While everything else will change (the world, society, trends, our journey, feelings, ideas, and relationships) God never changes.  If we base our hope and peace on anything that can change, we will inevitably be let down.

Searching for hope and purpose is deeply rooted in our bones; we crave to have things explained and to understand everything around us.  There are so many answers that promise peace and a greater understanding of the world, and while many of these can bring partial peace, they can’t fully satisfy and fill our needs if we continue searching blindly.

1 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age [the devil] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” The devil, mimicking the light as best as he can, tries to convince people that a light can be found somewhere besides God.  He is jealous of our love for God, and knowing his eventual defeat, he relishes in every soul who gets distracted by his false light.

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 4:6)  We were made to worship and glorify the one who made us, and we should give Him credit for every good thing in our lives.  We should be in awe with how wonderful it is to be alive, and love Him for it.  Are we choosing to follow a false light by giving credit for our peace and our hope to another person, religion, church denomination, lifestyle, or even crediting ourselves?

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Jesus is the true light in the darkness of the world.  We can see clearly, without shadow or confusion, the direction we should go and the path we should follow.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works, and give glory to your father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)  We can enjoy knowing God and following Jesus the rest of our lives, but to ignore His direction to share that light with the world is like having a flashlight on a dark trail and not sharing it with others.  This responsibility isn’t meant to be a burden.  I think it often gets treated like an obligation or a responsibility for a select few.  However, it should actually be a relief; it answers the question of purpose.  We can be relieved and joyful knowing our purpose in this world is to shine the light of Jesus Christ to others who are searching for a light in the darkness.  There is no greater purpose, so be comforted and encouraged, friends!

 

Lord, thou hast given us thy Word for a light to shine upon our path;
grant us so to meditate on that Word, and to follow its teaching,
that we may find in it the light that shines more and more until the perfect day;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Jerome, c 342 – 420)