Quiet: The Soundtrack of Heaven

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The dog sighs, rolls over and snores. In out, in out, inhale exhale, inhale exhale. My left ear hums its never ending song.

Quiet only means that I hear things usually covered up by the noise of demands surrounding me. Dinner must be made. Television blaring, phone ringing, all screaming for my attention. But tonight, while everyone sleeps, I hear the tired train moan deep, and I wonder, What other sounds do I miss in the business of everyday?

Wind chimes tinkle Amazing Grace…how sweet the sound! All at once I realize that it is grace I fail to hear when pressures roar their angry lion heads at me. “You will not ignore me!”

His still small grace voice of a breathing dog, a trailing train, and yes even the hum in my left ear beckons me to follow deep and deeper still into steep stillness.

Quiet and powerful is His voice. Full of grace. Yet Demands demand that whisper-dreams shut up, or at least become drowned in the underlying strings of stress playing the tensing muscles taut.

Grace beckons beyond cacophony band to the world of deaf ear ringing and all the other sounds of still voice that I ignore as background noise. Refrigerator purrs, full of food and air conditioner writes songs of comfort on a muggy night. The toilet fills the empty bowl and I am filled again. Filled with wonder in the Silent Night.

Grace burns brilliant in the silent night-holy night. All is calm…all is bright.

No matter how dark the night, the birds bring balance to the universe in morning with cheerful chirps. I am sure their song brings healing, even if we don’t consciously acknowledge their part. They know the secret…the one about Abba Jireh…the Providing Father.

I determine to slow down enough to listen to the music heaven plays as a soundtrack to life. Just like a movie, it is meant to provide mood behind the story.

A Call To Worship From A Drunk Man


The air was heavy blue with mist when I heard him singing. Was that my son in the shower? It was not. Did my neighbor have the radio blasting in his warming car? He did not. “Who is that singing?”, I thought. I opened my front door, and there he was. A young man, singing his heart vulnerable at the top of his lungs. The birds were his choir, and the distant train whistle his constant baseline. Together, they were performing a simple symphony, one in which this meander-er both directed and participated. I looked at the clock, it was 5 a.m.

I am half certain that he was drunk, for what other reason would someone be so uninhibited and oblivious to what others would think? But then I wondered, what if I was that full of joy and intoxicated with the beauty that is present in the moment called, “Now”? Because when we celebrate the “Now”, it is then that “Now” becomes present; a gift.

The fragrance surfing the breeze was pregnant with green, and aliveness. What better reason to sing? And what better way to be awakened than a serenade to the world? A call to worship so to speak…”Come and gather, for this moment must not be wasted!” the young man proclaimed with every note.
He was at the end of the block now and the blue landscape had turned grey in the distance, but he was still singing on his journey home….and so will I.

What To Do When You’re Facing A Giant

Today I have my first grown up interview. All of my other jobs have come to me. I am pitifully under-qualified. They would prefer someone with a degree. I have none. The only place I’ve ever worked is Dunkin’ Donuts and church, unless I count that short stint at Casual Corner and the bank. I haven’t worked in an office in twelve years, but that is what makes the whole thing so exciting. I’m in way over my head. That’s always been the best place for me, the deep. Most of the time I haven’t chosen to go there, but rather, have found myself under stormy waters against my will. However, this time, I’ve chosen to wade into the deep.

This morning, I was reading I Samuel and the story of David and Goliath came alive in a whole new way to me. I noticed seven things I could use to face the giant of “what should this former home school mom do with her life, now?”

1. Find out what the benefits are to facing your giant. David asked to hear the reward for killing Goliath. He wanted to hear it a second time. Maybe he already had his eye on Saul’s daughter, or maybe he was excited about his family being tax exempt, but something in that list inspired him and (en)couraged him to overcome the obstacle set before him.

2. Resist the temptation to fight your giant with the weapons of others. God has made you uniquely you. When we try to do things the way other people do, it just doesn’t fit right, just like Saul’s armor didn’t fit David. In fact, in the New Living version, David says, “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” Then it says that David picked up five stones. This was a weapon he was familiar with.God has equipped you. Use your equipment.

3. Notice how God has been training you.God doesn’t leave His children hanging. David wrote a poem about this in Psalm 144:1 (NLT) “Praise the LORD, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle.” David realized at some point that all of those years protecting those sheep were useful for something even more significant. They were training his hands for this battle. The assignment that God has given you may seem everyday and mundane. But the truth is that this very thing may be your training for an upcoming battle! I have long lived by the mantra, “Do what is in your hand to do, today.” When I do this, I know that I will be prepared for the future because of my obedience and action today.

4. Recognize the battle as the Lord’s. You are not strong enough to beat your giant, but God is. And perhaps, unbeknownst to you, He has been preparing you for this day. David did not have an armor bearer. He didn’t have any armor! But he had something so much more powerful, He had God on His side.

5. Be confident. David talked trash to Goliath. He told him exactly what he was going to do to him in no uncertain terms. He could do this because the Lord was his confidence. Proverbs 3:26, says, “For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger].”

6.Run at your giant!Stop avoiding it, run at it! David ran toward Goliath as fast as his legs could take him. Sometimes if we take our time, we’ll talk ourselves out of it. Go for it!

7. Reach into your own skill set. When the time came, David found himself “reaching into his shepherd’s bag.” David was able to pull what was familiar and practiced out of himself when he needed it most. He was prepared. He could pull a trick out of the bag. What skills has God trimmed you with? What can you pull out of your bag in time of trouble? Don’t believe that His preparations haven’t been enough. You were made for this!

I’m thrilled to be at this place in my life. The position that I’m applying for isn’t my giant, but trying for the position is! I know God has a future for me one way or the other…after all, how could I write so much if I’m working all of the time!

What is your giant?

Sharing with my friend Jen today:

and dear Shanda:

Cotton Candy Christianity

Cotton candy

Isaiah 55 (MSG)
“Hey there! All who are thirsty,
come to the water!
Are you penniless?
Come anyway—buy and eat!
Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.
Buy without money—everything’s free!
Why do you spend your money on junk food,
your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,
fill yourself with only the finest.
Pay attention, come close now,
listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.
I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you,”

Everyone is thirsty. We are all longing for something to fill a void. But sometimes we don’t know it, because we stuff ourselves with a bunch of fluff; things that aren’t nutritious or satisfying. Cotton candy tastes wonderful! But it melts in your mouth immediately, and never gives a satisfied, full feeling. There are so many ways the human race does this. Unbelievers and believers alike try to add meaning to their life by what they “do”. But this Scripture clearly states that we are trying to pay for something that He’s provided free of charge! Or how often have we run to cozy pj’s and an evening of Lifetime movies for the comfort only time spent pursuing the Comforter can give?

Jesus likened Himself to a tall drink of water!

If you read the story of Jesus and the woman at the well, you’ll see that Jesus called Himself Living Water that satisfies forever.

Drinking from the well that satisfies! Jesus didn’t spend time telling this woman how wonderful she was. In order to drink this Living Water, she had to hear some things that were difficult to hear. But she was thirsty, and she recognized the answer when He came to her.

How many of us would stick around for these difficult words? Most of us would run faster than our legs could carry us! But the Son of God made her aware of her thirst, and she wanted to quench this thirst more than she wanted to hear nice things about herself.

Jesus likened Himself to bread!

I happen to be on a fast; fasting sugar, potatoes and wheat flour. That’s everything worth eating, right? My grocery bill has suffered! All of the inexpensive “fillers” are out of my life. Eating right and living a healthy lifestyle comes at a cost. At the very least you will spend more energy pursuing physical health, and more than likely it it will cost more money as well. It is impossible to put a price of soul satisfaction. But the Good News is that the price has been paid! All we need to do is choose the right spiritual food. Sometimes we prefer to hear words that are melt-in-your-mouth morsels rather than a tough piece of meat that requires much chewing and a month to digest. We become offended with our pastors and teachers and ultimately God’s Word, because they are no longer “encouraging” and yummy to our delicate taste buds.

Eating healthy food isn’t easy…especially if you aren’t used to it. It takes hard work and discipline to train your body to desire the right things. Because of my fast, I’ve had bread on the brain, so it struck me hard when I came across this Scripture from John 6 in the Message.

27″Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”

28To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?”

29Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.”… 35-38Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.

I find it curious that both Isaiah and Jesus, when likening spirituality to food and drink also speak of commitment. The only time that I’ve survived a fast or diet is when I’ve been committed to that decision as a lifestyle.

Another portion of Isaiah 55 states,

6-7Seek God while he’s here to be found,
pray to him while he’s close at hand.
Let the wicked abandon their way of life
and the evil their way of thinking.
Let them come back to God, who is merciful,
come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.

We always assume we can live any old way and come back to Jesus anytime we decide to. But this verse provokes an interesting thought. It insinuates that there are times when God is closer than others, and that we must capitalize on these times.

The woman at the well, recognized one of these times. Jesus was close at hand, and she allowed Him to make the most of this opportunity.

We tend to think that we can eat junk food until we’re in our 40’s and 50’s and still enjoy optimum health. But that’s not true! And so it is in our spiritual lives. There is a time table of health, and consequences to pay for how we’ve treated our bodies. The longer we sow junk into our lives, the harder it is to abandon our old way of life.

Let me encourage you today. Throw in your lot with Jesus! Stop trying to satisfy yourself with sugary air! Come to the well of Living Waters…and have the discipline to hear and do hard things. He is the Bread of Life, and just like a great loaf of bread, He fills and satisfies. Check your spiritual “diet”. Are you trying to survive on cotton candy?

Perhaps taking private communion this week would be a good reminder of ensuring proper spiritual food. Will you join me in doing so?

What do C S Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle and Desmond Tutu Have in Common?

In the past few years, it seems everything I’ve read has an Anglican connection.  From C.S.Lewis, famous apologist, author and professor, to Madeleine L’Engle, author of Newberry Award winning A Wrinkle in Time, to the endearing Father Tim character in Jan Karon’s Mitford series.

These authors mention The Book of Common Prayer, and Morning and Evening prayers regularly in their writings.  It made me curious.  Being raised in the Salvation Army (similar to Methodist doctrine), and then moving to a Pentacostal upbringing and now landing in what my pastor likes to call a Bapticostal church, the mysticicism of a “high church” order and liturgy has always intrigued me.  After all, what is the difference between reading the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer everyday and reading the Prayers That Avail Much?

I wondered what style of daily disciplines C S Lewis, George Whitefield and George Washington used to enhance their spiritual growth.  Thus began my journey.  A journey towards epiphany. A journey which I am now including you if you are interested.  Because my determined purpose is that I may know Him…

Our christmas tree

This was my very first post here, and though the methods may have changed, the quest is still the same. This year, I will be adding a new tradition to my celebration of advent. I will be going through the devotional that dear Ann has written. I will be doing this primarily alone, even though it is written as a family devotional..although I will be sharing weekly with my Neighborhood Bible Study. Won’t you join me? The devotional is free and available here.