Benediction

This past week I was contemplating what I would share for the benediction at the end of the service on New Years Day at HFCN. I read a blog that included a beautiful benediction prayer and I closed the service with it. I have been asked by several folks if I could share it.  So here it is.

 The benediction is a blessing but its more… the author writes… The word that is spoken somehow infuses those who would receive it with power and confidence to move boldly into their world and be the people God has called them to be.

As the new year approaches Lord I pray that you would give us:

Faces that are always turned toward you…

Eyes that bring Jesus into sharp focus, leaving the peripheral things fuzzy. Let us see Jesus in everything and everyone…

Ears that are tuned to the voice of your Holy Spirit…

Lips and tongues that speak kindly, saying the right things at the right time, and knowing when to say nothing at all…

Hearts that beat for you, your Word, and your people…

Strong arms to lift in praise to you…

And strong knees to kneel in prayer to you…

Thank you for equipping us with everything good for doing your will. May we bring you and your son, Jesus, glory in all that we do this year. We love you Lord.I ask you this in the precious and holy name of your Son, Jesus, Amen. 

May this God of peace prepare you to do every good thing he wants. May he work in us through Jesus Christ to do what is pleasing to him. Glory belongs to Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” -Hebrews 13:21

He also said..  We usually think of the benediction as the ending of a worship service, the words the pastor says as we are leaving the sanctuary. And though it comes at the end, it really marks the beginning. These are words that encourage, equip and edify as the congregation goes into their mission field.

#belightgoshine #yourpresenceisimportant #ChristinyoutheHopeofGlory

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Entering the Tapestry of Life for Him

I did a memorial service recently and I felt led to share it. It isn’t verbatim. I tried to stay true to my notes. That’s not the point. The fact is that I really had anxiety before I met Brian and his wife Cathy that day at UVA. However, when our lives actually intersected, now that was a Holy Moment. (it’s in the blog) That is a moment I shall never forget… My hope is that my story will encourage you to push through any and all anxiety when you step out in Faith. Enter the tapestry of the broken and hurting people around you. Life is to short not to reach out with the love of Christ. He will love people  through you.. Christ in you the Great Hope of Glory!

The Memorial Message

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. –Psalm 46:1

Thank you for being here…  your presence means more than you know. We have come here today to remember Brian Harold’s life. We also come here today to remember the great hope we have in Jesus Christ.  He has given us his word that this physical death is not the end of life. Jesus said to his disciples:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” -John 14:1-6

These are promises that bring hope to us. Today, it’s okay like Thomas to ask questions… God created us to be relational and to ask the questions. Believing in Jesus Christ is always personal. He desires to have relationship with us and that we have Holy fellowship with one another.

We all have a story of who Brian was to us or maybe you are here today because you know his family. You have a relationship and because of that you have a story of who they are to you.  No matter why you are here, the reality is that we come to here today to mourn, to lament over the loss of Brian… To remember… to process our grief and to hear of the Great Hope we have in Jesus Christ… that this is not the end of the story for Brian and one day you and I too will take our final breath. It is really easy for us to be in denial of this truth… that death does come to each of us.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” -Ecclesiastes 3: 1-4

One day you and I will become the one of focus at a service like this, where people will come together to talk about what we meant to them, how we impacted their life.

“A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone….the living should take this to heart.” -Ecclesiastes 7: 1-2

We have had to deal with some hard realities in the past few weeks…. We have been reminded that as we read in the book of James that we have no promise of tomorrow

You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. What is life? You are a mist/vapor that is seen for a moment and then disappears.”- James:4:14

 It seems people are taken way too soon and life has been cut way to short in our understanding of time… We have been brought face-to-face with these realities, and today we have no choice but to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. The Lord has given us this precious promise, we have already heard it today…

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” – Psalm 34:18

Today by sharing we have a chance to remember… I have reflected over my own interactions with Brian and his family here at the church and a few memories have really impacted me. I feel led to share them with you with permission from his family.

The first story is how I met Brian and Cathy… A friend of mine called me one day and was telling me that a friend of hers had a son named Clay. Clay was going to be having surgery at UVA. As a pastor, and a mother, my heart went out to this family. So I asked if she thought it would be okay if I would go to UVA to pray with them.

I actually had went on Facebook (I really wasn’t stalking you Cathy) and looked Cathy up so I could recognize her when I got there… I realized that we had a few mutual friends. I entered the UVA surgical waiting area… went over to the desk and asked the receptionist if they were there yet. She said they were in the cafeteria. I walked out in the lobby… I was so nervous… more so than I ever can remember in all my years of hospital visitation… Here they came from the cafeteria. I let them walk right by. All the while going… what is wrong with me today?

I look up and now Cathy is back out in the lobby. I walked up to her and said, “Hi Cathy.” “Am I supposed to know you she asked?” I said “No, a friend told me about your son having surgery and I was wondering if I could pray with you.” She gave an adamant “YES!” That anxiety fell off of me like a heavy winter jacket. She asked me to come in to the waiting room and pray so I could pray with her husband too… And that’s how I met Brian. As they sat in the chairs that day… I knelt in front of them with my arms reaching out to them in compassion and prayed.

What happened next I still haven’t gotten over… As I opened my eyes as I finished praying they both had tears rolling down their cheeks… not just one or two tears but a flood, rivers flowed from their eyes. I have often wondered what caused that flood. Why the deep emotion? Did they realize in that moment God knew where they were?

I went back over a few days later to see them Cathy and Brian were changing shifts as I arrived. I watched Brian care for Clay in such a loving way… Doing what he could to bring comfort to another…

This family has weathered some storms. I asked Lori if I could share this story with you. This past year, Lori was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She wasn’t given much if any hope. Her future looked bleak. I remember hearing of her diagnosis… I remember Brian bringing Lori to The Well… The Well is a place here in the church that we are available to pray with folks after our services. I remember Brian bringing Lori over one Sunday for us to anoint her and pray for healing.

A couple of weeks later he took her to WVA on a Sunday morning because there was a congregation there that wanted to anoint and pray with her. So it was Brian that took Lori to be prayed over and anointed.

Around this time Brian decided that Lori needed to get a second opinion elsewhere about her diagnosis and he wouldn’t let it rest… She said at work he would pop in her office and ask if she had made an appointment yet. One day she gave in and they began to research where she should go together. She went to Johns Hopkins and today she is in remission…

As she shared this story I had this ah-ha. Brian was driven to get her help. He brought her for prayer, drove her across the mountain seeking miraculous healing, he helped her find a doctor at Johns Hopkins and took her there for physical healing. As Lori told me the story I realized that she may not be sitting here today with her family had it not been for Brian reaching out to her extending hope when she couldn’t hardly hope for herself.

Cathy wanted me to share these thoughts from her that really falls in line with everything else we have heard from everyone else as they shared. “Whenever I did any non-profit work, he was always right there w/ me supporting the effort.  When I was advocating for Clay and went to testify before the Budget Committee, he went early and paved the way for us.  By the time I got there, he had made friends w/all of the officers outside of the government building.  When I held a walk to raise money for an organization out of Strasburg, he jumped right in, put on a safety vest and went to work.”

Then there is last story we are all aware of… A story that we all wish we knew better. The one we lean into every time someone opens up the conversation. The story in the water. The story where we have few details and many questions. The story where he went to his fishing partner… and checked on him. Making sure that he was in as good a position as he could be before he pushed away. Extending compassion…

I know I have highlighted some really good things about Brian Harold. His arms in these situations reached out in love and compassion for those in need in beautiful ways. Today because of Brian, you and I find ourselves in the very place that he came to seek answers to life’s toughest questions, the place where he came to seek the very presence of God. Brian truly has invited each of us here to this sanctuary by making it his own place of worship. Maybe you didn’t know that about Brian. That he was seeking answers.

Brian was here at our Easter Drama. He sat right over there just a few rows back from the foot of the cross and watched as folks from our congregation played out the scriptures surrounding Jesus death and resurrection. He sat there as he heard the gospel and watched as Jesus went to his death on the cross for our sin. That Jesus became the sacrifice once and for all for our sin. My Sin and your sin. Brian watched as the life of Jesus ebbed away while on the cross and then as scripture reports was He resurrected from the dead. He witnessed that the power of sin and death was broken through Jesus crucifixion, death and resurrection… The story of our Great Hope, Jesus Christ.

This was the Truth that Brian came seeking here in this very sanctuary.

He came back on Easter Sunday and heard the message of the lost sheep and how the Father’s heart is for EveryONE. He heard that we all have a choice to make and to not choose is a choice. Today I have no doubt that Brian would tell you that Jesus Christ is the only way the truth and the life… He would tell you and I to live every day as it was our last… To embrace Jesus Christ and to be an extension of His Love, His Mercy and His Grace.

We can do all the “good things” in life but we must make a choice in whom we will serve on this earth and that choice will make all the difference for the rest of this life and all of the next.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”-Lamentations 3:22-23

A friend sent me a song shortly after the accident and I felt immediately led to send it to Cathy. She texted me back and said. “I love it. Remember those streams of tears running down our faces when you first met us? That just really felt good…”

See, we have an enemy and he did not want me to enter Brian’s life and be the Love of Christ to him. I have come to realize that the anxiety I had that day at UVA was because of the enemy. He didn’t want me entering their lives. (The truth is today that if I hadn’t faced my fear and met them I wouldn’t be doing the service.)

Just as Brian and Cathy sensed God knew where they were that day at UVA… He knows where each of us are today, he knows our needs, our brokenness.. He is for us and he is not against us.

I’m going to take the words of the song that I sent Cathy and turn them into a prayer… Would you pray with me?

 Lord, there is strength within the sorrow.

There is beauty in our tears.

Lord, you meet us in our mourning.

With a love that casts out fear.

You are working in our waiting.

You’re sanctifying us.

When beyond our understanding.

You’re teaching us to trust.

Your plans are still to prosper.

You have not forgotten us.

You’re with us in the fire and the flood.

You’re faithful forever.

Perfect in love.

Lord, you are sovereign over us.

You are wisdom unimagined.

Who could understand Your ways?

Reigning high above the Heavens.

Reaching down in endless grace.

You’re the lifter of the lowly.

Compassionate and kind. You surround and You uphold me.

And Your promises are my delight.

Your plans are still to prosper.

You have not forgotten us.

You’re with us in the fire and the flood .

You’re faithful forever.

Perfect in love.

Lord, you are sovereign over us.

In Jesus Name Amen.

Sovereign In Us – Kathryn Scott

It Stirred Hope…

Well, its hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since I made my biggest life changing decision ever!

 It was during the Easter season 1996.  I was attending Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene.  I heard the gospel message every Sunday but had a really hard time believing that I was forgivable… I went to the Easter Musical and watched the life of Christ played out before me according to Scripture.

 It stirred something within me…

 It stirred Hope…

I went back the second night and watched with amazement as the story of Jesus was portrayed once again… He met me where I was.

 Forgiveness.

Mercy.

It was during that weekend that I finally became a Jesus Believer. It was a great exchange. All my stuff for a clean slate.

Redemption.

 New Life.

Over these 20 years, it has taken a tapestry of believers being the Love of Jesus to me, and the Holy Spirit’s leading  within me on this road of Redemption. It hasn’t always been easy but I would NEVER want to go back to the way it was before.

Until I let go of who others thought I should be…He couldn’t mold me into who He created me to be!

“I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God… My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. -Colossians 2:1,6,7

This weekend we are doing it again…

It is going to be a moving presentation of

“Come See the Lamb.”

If you or someone you know needs Hope stirred…

Don’t wait any longer…

I’m inviting you to come…

come see the lamb postcard.jpg

Encouragement to Share

We all have difficult days.  Mine are no worse than yours.  You know what I’m saying, I know you do.  Some days are just hard.  I was having one of those days recently.  It was a Thursday and the women at our church were gathering for prayer as we do each Thursday evening.  I had a devotional prepared to share, however a lady walked in with a book that had colored post-its all through it.  I looked at her and said, “Well, it looks like you have something to share… ” She said, “yes, I have something I would like to read.”

You see I wasn’t feeling too great because that morning I had an encounter where I felt like I had failed miserably.  The enemy used it against me all day.  So as my dear friend read to the prayer group from her devotional I sat back closed my eyes and listened to these words….

“Sometimes despair seems an attractive choice, solving everything in the negative. The voice of despair says, “I sin over and over again. After endless promises to myself and others to do better next time, I find myself back again in the old dark places. Forget about trying to change. I have tried for years. It didn’t work and it will never work. It is better that I get out of people’s way, be forgotten, no longer around, dead.”

            This strangely attractive voice takes all uncertainties away and puts an end to the struggle. It speaks unambiguously for the darkness and offers a clear-cut negative identity.

            But Jesus came to open my ears to another voice that says, “I am your God, I have molded you with my own hands, and I love what I have made. I love you with a love that has no limits, because I love you as I am loved. Do not run away from me. Come back to me—not once, not twice, but always again. You are my child. How can you ever doubt that I will embrace you again, hold you against my breast, kiss you, and let my hands run through your hair? I am your God—the God of mercy and compassion, the God of pardon and love, the God of tenderness and care. Please do not say that I have given up on you, that I cannot stand you anymore, that there is no way back. It is not true. I so much want you to be with me. I so much want you to be close to me. I know all your thoughts, I hear all your words. I see all of your actions. And I love you because you are beautiful, made in my own image, an expression of my most intimate love. Do not judge yourself. Do not condemn yourself. Do not reject yourself. Let my love touch the deepest, most hidden corners of your heart and reveal to you your own beauty, a beauty that you have lost sight of, but which will become visible to you again in the light of my mercy. Come, come, let me wipe your tears, and let my mouth come close to your ear and say to you, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you.’”

            This is always the voice Jesus wants us to hear. It is the voice that calls us always to return to the one who has created us in love and wants to recreate us in mercy.”

-Meditations by Henri Nouwen

Oh how those words ministered to my heart in that moment.  So wherever you are today, remember Whose you are.  He is gently calling to you.  He is the “God Who Sees” and He cares deeply about you and me.  I did go back and ask for forgiveness in that place where I felt like I had failed earlier in the day.  In a world that is growing darker, we need friends who bring  words of encouragement like my friend brought to me.  Feel free to share this with the anyone you love. Be encouraged that God created us in Love and He wants to re-create us in Mercy. 

 

 

My Mom Prays for Me… I am Grateful.

Our pastor, Kerry Willis is doing a 4 week sermon series on “More than Conquerors.” He had asked me on Sunday to come and pray before the message and if I had anything to share to do so if I felt led to. Five minutes before I was called up to pray, the Lord laid it on my heart share how my moms prayers impacted my life, (although I didn’t turn out just like she wanted:) as well as the miraculous healing of our daughter Sydney that started my journey back to the Lord..  I truly believe He heard my mom’s prayers for me and drew me to Himself  through a crisis in my life. After my sharing, PK brings  the opening message in the series.  Attached is the link to the message from the service.  I pray it encourages you that there is hope in Christ Jesus for you and for those you love.  Attached is our theme song as well.

 

Grateful for prayers…

My Testimony

Margaret(6of31)

I haven’t written for a while… I can’t really explain why not. I want to write about things that will be encouraging. The things that I share are near to my heart. I never want to hurt anyone by the things I write. So that being said, I thought I would enter back into the blogging world with my testimony. It is not in-depth look at my life but an overview of my journey. I am willing to answer questions that you may have. If you are struggling on your journey and need someone to talk to, please feel free to contact me. The picture above is of me in front of the Old Order Mennonite church that I was raised in. I’m truly grateful for my heritage…

Growing Up Plain

I was born into an very religious family and the youngest of four with all older brothers. We lived on a farm with no electricity and our main mode of transportation was a horse and buggy.

Going to church on Sunday was very much a part of my life.  I believed in God, however, I was quite concerned because I was quite the mischievous, even somewhat rebellious girl. I figured if God did see me or care,  He was probably not very happy with me since I was not a very loyal “rule keeper.”  On the contrary I was the one that broke the rules over and over. I had my reasons.

Yes, I managed to keep up the good-girl facade until I was 18 and that’s when “it” happened.  The person I was hiding inside of me became bigger than the person I was pretending to be in front of my parents and religious community.

I left my parents and my life behind. At the same time,  I left everything familiar to me, believing that I had finally found my freedom.  What I did not realize was I had only traded one bondage for another — the bondage of family religion had been replaced with the bondage of full rebellion.

bonnet1

Freedom In Christ

After years of going down a broken road,  I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior after an Easter Drama at Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene in April of 1996.  I surrendered my whole life to  the Lord  early in my walk with Him.

He has continued to be faithful on every step of the journey. He has brought healing in deep places of pain.  He has reconciled relationships that humanly were irreparable.  He brought healing and wholeness where there was once addiction.  The great news is that He isn’t finished with me yet!  He continues to call me to a life of Holiness.  He continues to allow the purifying fires in my life because He desires that I become more like Christ at home, in the Shenandoah Valley and beyond.

I have determined in my heart that I want my life to “Be the Message” and as necessary use words.  God has taken my mess and turned it into a message of Hope. I want to spend my life helping others break free from the bondage of sin and religion by sharing the Hope and Holiness found only through Jesus Christ.

Vessel

                                        

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great  power is from God, not from ourselves.

 -2 Corinthians 4:7

                                                 

Being Light in a Dark World

I opened my devotions this morning and both scripture references were on compassion.  The first one was from Matthew 15:32, “Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people.” In Matthew 15 we read that Jesus was there healing those who were brought to him.  People had traveled to bring the lame, blind, and crippled to Jesus. He had healed many people.  Matthew tells us that the crowds were amazed.  Those who couldn’t speak, were speaking… the lame were walking… and the blind could see! AND they praised the God of Israel!

There are different words used in various translations of Jesus emotion as he looked on the state of the people… “I feel sorry.”  “I have compassion.”  “I hurt.”  The reason Jesus felt these things was because the people were hungry.  They had seen him work miracles in their lives, in their loved ones lives.  No one wanted to leave.  They wanted to be in the presence of Jesus more than they wanted to anything.

For some reason I didn’t remember that this scripture that I quote often was right before the feeding of the four thousand. Jesus had compassion on the people and he shared that with the disciples. Now, many, many times in scripture we see a physical representation of a spiritual truth.  This miraculous event has immense spiritual truth that I believe is applicable today.

This past Sunday Pastor Kerry returned from his Sabbatical. He commented that in the weeks he has been gone, the world seems to be darker.  I shared that with my parents as I visited with them on Sunday evening. They agreed even in their sheltered Old Order Mennonite world that they really sense that our world is getting darker quickly.  What they read in the newspaper and hear in the community is enough for them to recognize the state of our world.

This morning I contemplated the events that have happened in just the last few days… I thought of someone I should encourage. I texted them this morning trying to bring encouragement and hope as they entered their workplace…

 “Christ in us the Hope of Glory.”  -Colossians 1:27

In Christ we can all bring hope, and encouragement to those we encounter.  Today Jesus has compassion for those who are spiritually blinded by the enemy, those who have been spiritually crippled by religion,  those who believe that their sin has crippled them to the point that Jesus would never forgive them of their past, much less heal them from it.

Oh today my friends… I have good news!  The prophecy that came through Isaiah, Jesus shared as He began his ministry.

“God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”

Luke 4:18-19

Jesus had compassion… he handed the disciples a few fish and seven loaves of bread to bring health and strength to the Gentiles on that hill east of the Sea of Galilee.  Today He is still the Great Healer.  Just as the disciples were an extension of Jesus ministry on that hillside as they delivered nourishment to the four thousand men plus wives and children.  Today He lets us in on the partnership of compassion for the lost.  Through the shed blood of Christ we have been cleansed… set apart… made holy for a purpose. He didn’t save us to keep salvation to ourselves.  He saved us so we could multiply the Kingdom.  He saved us so we can share the good news.  Just like the fishes and the loaves… as long as there was physical hunger the food didn’t run out.  Spiritually, the needs are many around us… salvation is free and plentiful while there is still time.

They blind and the lame, came to that hillside, not on their own but because someone cared enough to tell them and carry them there if they needed to be carried. This is the work.  As our world gets darker, His light will shine brighter than ever though these broken vessels he has taken up residence in… Yes, the enemy is prowling about looking to see who he can devour.

It is our business to proclaim the Truth by the way we live our lives! Jesus is still the One who sets captives free!!! Today as we encounter people along the way. Let’s BE the Message of the Gospel by the way we live and if necessary we can use words.  We need you Lord.

What Does “Humble” Look Like ?

I’ve been pondering this for quite some time… Yes, probably longer probably than I should have.  It’s a word that growing up bothered me.  Actually it still bothers me somewhat but from a different perspective these days.

“Humble.”

 But first of all let me get this off my chest.  How do you say this word?  Is the “h” silent?  I have been laughed at for how I say it…  Now I can’t remember which way I was laughed at when I used the “h” or I left it off…  Now I’m a little hesitant to even say the word.  In researching how others say it I ran across this on a blog.

“I also found a reference that said it was more common in the South for the “h” to be silent in the word “humble.” So perhaps that was something my mother got from her Virginia grandparents.”

Well, there you have it. If you were born in and or have family from Virginia… it may change how you talk, bear in mind this is information is third hand, so I wouldn’t put total stock in it.

Anyway… growing up, the word humble seemed to have a lot to do with how I dressed and to be honest I didn’t like it, because it really cramped my style.  It seemed that our culture was so concerned about us becoming “puffed up” and prideful.  So many things were just unacceptable to our way of life.  We were to have “a broken spirit and a contrite heart” from Psalm 51:17.  I heard many times if my heart was right it would show on the outside and that is true, however it never set well with me that it was about what I wear.  Oh, I rebelled, I’m not denying that.  I turned from my family, the church and God… and was running straight for hell as hard as I could.  I was hurt, wounded and bursting at the seams with pride and arrogance.  The very opposite of everything I considered a humble girl to represent. I was finished with the church, with God and all it represented.

I’m so very grateful that I was not the final word on my eternal destination. What I’m saying is that I am grateful that God is the Most Gracious and Holy Hound of Heaven.  I thank God that in His grace He came after me.  I am forever grateful that He saved me in spite of myself.  I am so very grateful that Jesus left his perfect home in heaven to enter my messy life.  That He went to Calvary with me on His mind.  That He sent an Advocate as a guide for me here on this earth until I reach my perfect home on in Heaven that He has prepared for me.  I’m grateful that every person I see, God feels the same about them too. Everyone.

King David went his own way too… Read from Psalm 51 (MSG) after he had sinned.

 “Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life. Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing. Don’t look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health. God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don’t throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!

Give me a job teaching rebels your ways so the lost can find their way home. Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God, and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways. Unbutton my lips, dear God; I’ll let loose with your praise.  Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.”

I say yes to this powerful testimony of King David.  Yes, he had a broken and a contrite heart.  He seen the error of his ways and he come to God in humility. None of us are exempt as we all fall short without eyes of faith.

In Matthew 20, Jesus was trying to help a couple disciples and their mother understand this lesson of humility. Momma had just asked if her boys could sit in places of honor with Jesus… He told her, “You don’t know what you are asking.” So then when the other disciples about heard this, He had to call the disciples together for a little “come to Jesus meeting” and said,

“You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

As King David embraced the cleansing work of God in His life, He became a man of humility, pride had shattered him to his core.  He was ready to start over and give God all the glory.  To be a servant of the  Lord.  The disciples were on the same journey, they had a lot to learn.  We all have a lot to learn.  We could look at their lives and save ourselves a lot of grief, unfortunately we seem to need to learn the hard way.

 “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

The root word “humble” in the Greek has quite a few translations, the one that has impacted me recently is the meaning used in Proverbs 11:2  meaning: pipe, spout, conduit, water conduit, perhaps meaning to be hollow; a culvert:-gutter, water-spout.

Andrew Murray penned these words on humility many years ago and they reflect what Jesus was saying to the disciples and their momma in Matthew 20.

“God is faithful, just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds the creature abase and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless. He that humbles himself – that must be our one care – shall be exalted; that is God’s care; by His mighty power and His great love He will do it.” -Andrew Murray

In Christ our lives are not our own. We have been bought with a price… all to Him we owe!

Lord, my prayer today is that Your living water would not just fill me but that I would become a conduit, a gutter, that would be emptied of myself and you would flow through me to those around me. I would rather be a gutter for my God any day than a stagnant pond for the enemy. Let it be in my life Lord, let it be.