Friday, October 26, 2012

Let the Fragrance Fill the Room!

Sometimes (when I'm going through), the Lord ministers to me in the 'midnight watches'. I don't know what it is about 3 o'clock in the morning! (But my friend, Carolyn, says, 'Don't fight it; just wake up and praise Him!') Now, I'm no musician, but the words came to me this morning in a song with a calypso beat. They reminded me of the sister who busted in on the Pharisees dinner party and broke open her alabaster box to lavish her expensive perfume upon Jesus. Everybody in the room got blessed by the sweet aroma, but her worship, her praise was directed to Jesus, her Lord and Saviour. She was excited that Jesus had forgiven her all her sins (which were many) and had set her free to live in the 'newness of life'. She was thankful and grateful, and she didn't care who knew it. (Luke 7)
As we seek to minister to others, if it is to be sweet and effective, it must come out of our heart of worship and praise to Jesus, too. Otherwise, it will erode into religious piety, duty and drudgery. No one will be blessed, and we will be miserable. Here're the words. Add your own calypso beat and dance before the Lord . . . and the whole room will be blessed! :jb

Lord, I love You
I trust You
Let the fragrance fill the room.

I hope in You
Have faith in You
Let the fragrance fill the room.

Lord, I worship You
I praise You
Let the fragrance fill the room.

I rely on You
My desire is You
Let the fragrance fill the room.

Let the fragrance fill the room!
Let the fragrance fill the room!
Let the fragrance fill the room!
Let the fragrance fill the room!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Where Is My Joy??

I was praying and asking the Lord this very question the other day.  And I was led to this scripture, I Corinthians 7:23: "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men." And in a flash I knew where my joy had gone.  In my misdirected zeal, I'd been serving men and not Jesus! Don't get me wrong, certainly people are the beneficiaries of our service to Jesus--The One who bought us with a price. BUT (big 'but') our service is not directed to people, it is directed to Jesus.  Such a subtle nuance (at least for me) that I had missed it, or let it slip somewhere along the line. However, the moment we shift the focus of our service back to our Heavenly Father, it is in that moment we get our joy back!
Why? Because Jesus . . . loves us (John 3:16) . . . accepts us (Ephesians 1:6) . . . does not condemn us (Romans 8:1) . . . forgives us (I John 1:9) . . . is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). In short, He is our all-in-all. So when our service is directed to Jesus, we have the joy of knowing He is pleased. People, on the other hand, are never pleased, and besides, you can never please them all! They do not have the power (nor often the desire) to validate or affirm us. Our service belongs to Jesus, and He will bless whom He will with it.  I guess that's why the Psalmist so wisely declared, "Serve the Lord with gladness!" (Psalm 100:2a) :jb

Friday, October 5, 2012

Picked . . .

Hey, all! The other day a group of us decided we were going to do some major chillin' at our friend's gorgeous, fully-enclosed (no gnats, no bugs, no critters) pool. We were gonna have a sistah-hood day of epic proportions: a few hours at poolside with snacks and libations of choice; a cool dip in the gentle waters; lots of laughter; capped off with an early dinner (since we all had some miles to travel) . . . nothing but fun!  But wouldn't you know, everybody had their cellphone close at hand.  And after about the third, sassily-unique ringtone from various devices, I realized what my Mother meant ('cause, of course, I didn't get it at the time--duh!). My wise Mom would say to me over and over in her sweet tone, 'Dear, be where you are'. What she was trying to tell me was to 'stay in the moment'. Not to be some place with your mind some place else; that the people you're with, the moment you're in is the most important time of your life. It got me to thinking why is it we never seem to be able to 'log off' or 'download' in our modern society? Why is it none of us seem to be able to get any quality rest, or our peace won't stay? At best, I guess it's 'cause we want to 'stay connected'; but at worst, it's 'cause we think we're important and who we are and what we're doing is somehow vital to world peace! :) Someone once said, 'If you want to know how important you are, just stick your hand in a bucket of water and pull it out.' I had this placemat once that read (. . . and I bought it 'cause I seriously needed the reminder), 'The sun will set without thy assistance.' In other words, we're not running nothing (yes, double negative), and our importance doesn't even make a ripple in the great scheme of things. Die . . . and see what happens. ;) God is in control. He rules and reigns, and not us! (Revelation 19:6)
So you say, 'Are we then . . . not important (drats, and double drats!)? No, by no means, we are v-e-r-y important. For God picked us, out of all the choices He could have made in His universe; He picked us, at this moment and in this time, to give Him praise!! (Ephesians 1:6)

I Got Picked (:jeanetta britt/Reunion/

I was wandering through
A dense forest so deep
Travelers moving with me

The rains that came
Beat hard upon me
I lost my way

From out of nowhere
Someone came
Led me to safety
From the falling rain.

Arms wrapped around me
My body shielded with his
Wiped away my doubts
Soothed away my fears.

I followed sprightly
Like a forest nymph
As he led me to cover
Under his sprawling tent.

I danced in step
With my rescuer's feet
Singing in tune
With the raindrop beat . . .

I got
Picked . . . Picked . . . Picked

Unlike other travelers
Rebellious and strange
Who refused the one
Sent to lead them
From the rain.

Or chose not to dance
With the one
Who brought them out
And re-entered the forest
On their own account.

I observed from a hill
High above
Travelers rejecting
Pure, sweet love.

The Word of the Lord
Sent out the same way
Some won't, some will
But refuse to stay. 

Some never choose
The tent of His joy
Others get in step
And dance forevermore.

A melody of blessing
A sweet refrain
Awaits those who come in
Out of the rain . . .

I got
Picked . . . Picked . . . Picked

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

God Has a Sense of Humor . . .

Hey, y'all! Ain't life grand? When my children were young, my Mother started doing a very odd thing. She would send me boxes of pots and pans; and even, fine china, crystal and silver. What? I was very utilitarian in my youth, and as a single mom, I couldn't figure out what was up with her. Me and my young'uns were into 'the paper plate thang' in order to get through the mounds of homework, and soccer practices, and basketball games, and . . . .  So I pushed the boxes of unwanted goodies from my dear ole Mom in the back of some deserted closet and went on with my real life. Needless to say, the pots and pans have gone the way of the dodo bird, but now I do somewhat cherish the china. (I don't use it much, but I try to pull it out at least once a year and clean it up and make some occasion special.)
Yesterday, I had to smile when I found myself in the clearance aisle buying, not one great deal on a nice, heavy saute pan, but two! My thought was, 'Maybe my daughter could use one' (...and Lord knows she could). And it occurred to me that our Great God must be smiling from his heavenly perch as He watches us go through this comic circle of life. (You can do that when you already know the outcome--2 Timothy 2:19)  Because I promise you, I was the same age as my daughter is now when my Mom started sending me stuff I didn't think I wanted or needed. And I am quite sure, I'll get the very same reaction from my daughter. :) :)
Isn't it funny how each of us, in each succeeding generation, thinks the course of our lives is so-ooo unique, so-ooo incredibly different? But when we boil it all down to a nectar, there're really only two ways this journey can end. We can either accept Jesus Christ and have eternal life, or we can go our own way and be lost forever. That's why I believe Jesus could die for all the sins of all the people in all the world 'once for all' (Hebrews 10:10). Because, 'there's no new thing under the sun'. (Ecclesiastes 1:9) We all make it to Planet Earth the same way; we're all subject to the same vices and devices; and we all fall for 'em, in one way or another. (Romans 3:23) So we, each of us, need someone to pay for the sum total of the sins of our 'unique' journey. And each of us have been given the same pin number--faith. (Romans 12:3) We can either let Jesus pay for our sins (which He is so-ooo willing to do 'cause He loves us and He is able), or we have to trust ourselves to do it (and fail 'cause the tangle of our sins has rendered us unable to pay).  It's as simple (. . . and complex and wonderful) as that! (John 3:16)

God Has a Sense of Humor
(by :jeanetta britt/Flittin' and Flyin'/

God has a sense of humor
I see it every day
He gives some folk the gift of gab
But they have nothing to say.

He gives some of us verse
And we're too afraid to share it
But a poem can only come alive
When someone is there to hear it.

To some He gives the lyrics
And to others He gives the beat
It takes two to make the music
And the melody complete.

God knows our tendency
To blow up with pride
So He won't even let us save ourselves
We need Jesus to be our guide.

Jesus died once and for all
Our souls to regain
And He alone can give us new life
For human nature will never change.

And to each believer He gives gifts
And places us in His church
So we can help each other
Keep this world from going berserk.

But if I don't accept your gift
And you don't accept mine
Instead of doing our Saviour's will
We'll be wasting our time.

And when we try to go it alone
We'll be limited to what we can do
Until we finally get the punch line
You need me . . . and I need you.

But if we keep on going solo
Out here on these streets
The joke will be on us
Isolation brings defeat.

God fixed it this way
He's grinning from ear to ear
For we'll need Him . . . and each other
While we're living down here! :)