Satisfied?

Posted by admin on November 8, 2012 under Encouraging Words | Be the First to Comment

“O satisfy us in the morning with Thy lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”  Psalm 90:13    A Prayer of Moses, the Man of God

In the desert of Sin (Exodus 16:1) there were two parties at odds with each other–and the leaders Moses and Aaron comprised the minority!  The majority were “the whole congregation of the sons of Israel,” freshly liberated slaves of Egypt. They didn’t trust Moses and Aaron,  and they didn’t trust God, even after He parted the Red Sea for them.  

They had eaten up all the unleavened bread.  They had livestock, but they must have balked at slaughtering those.  So they berated Moses and Aaron, “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger!”  (16:3)

Like the disciples facing hungry multitudes in Jesus’ day, Moses and Aaron could only appeal to God for provision.  What a patient, loving God He is!   He replied to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.” (16:4)

Then all Israel looked toward the wilderness, “and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.” (vs.10)  God had heard their grumblings.  He had been there all along.

Flocks of quail descended on the camp that evening; in the morning manna fell like dew.  The people gathered it in jars to make bread with it, bread that tasted like honey cakes.  Manna leftover on the ground simply melted away!

Perhaps the prophet Jeremiah recalled this story when he wrote, “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.  Great is Thy faithfulness.”  (Lamentations 3:22-23)

In the morning only God will satisfy my hungers.  The blessings of His Word and Presence must be gathered in that quiet time, for in the heat of day I forget them.  Then I am tempted to fill myself with whatever distraction is at hand–work, food, entertainment, shopping, friends.  Or worse, I begin to grumble, worry, and feel sorry for myself.

Jeremiah, persecuted (and eventually put to death), had reason to lament.  In the darkest hours, however, he reminded himself of God’s goodness.  “‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul. ‘Therefore, I have hope in Him.’  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.” (3:24-25)  

C. S. Lewis observed the dilemma:  “We try, when we wake, to lay the new day at God’s feet; before we have finished shaving, it becomes our day and God’s share in it is felt as a tribute which we must pay. . . out of the time which ought, we feel, to be ‘our own.” (The Problem of Pain, chapter 5)

How much better to remember, as Lewis continued,  “that the soul is but a hollow which God fills.” (ch. 10)  We will never be satisfied apart from Him.  He is the Father who made us, the Son who saves us, the Spirit who fills and empowers us!  

Forty years later Moses instructed the people,  “Remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness. . .  that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.  And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna . . . that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)

Yes, God created me to be hungry.  He created me for the liberty of dependence.  I am His child; He will feed and protect me.  I need not fear or fret. 

Jesus said, “”Do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink . . . Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?  Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:25-26, 32-33) 

Father, thank You for being so loving and patient with me.  Forgive me when I complain and worry.  Forgive me when I try to fill myself with the world’s goodness.  Lord Jesus, You are the Giver and the Gift, the Manna of life to me.  You are My Shepherd in the wilderness; You restore my hungry soul.  You prepare a table before me– morning by morning, let me feast on You.  I delight in my hunger for you.  May I never be satisfied in myself but only by Your Presence!  Amen.

Running!

Posted by admin on January 27, 2012 under Encouraging Words | 4 Comments to Read

First I discovered the enormous suitcases hidden under the hedge.  Then my schizophrenic mother sneaked me out of the house too.  I was just a toddler, but I remember being sick on that first airplane flight.  By nightfall we were a thousand miles away, running across the Carolina college campus where my cousin  studied.  Somehow we slipped into the women’s dorm, where Mom hid me in a broom closet.  But college authorities soon discovered us and shipped me back to my grandparents’ custody. 

Mom kept on running and hiding, and I ran to keep up with her– till the day she was committed to a mental hospital.  Then the nightmares began–running and hiding, away from the lighted windows of  houses into the black shelter of trees.   On and on, all alone,  I ran through the neighborhood into a dark countryside. 

This nightmare pursued me into adulthood when I was, as a military chaplain’s wife, quite literally, always on the move. 

Now I have lived sixteen years in the same neighborhood.   The Lord has given me a home and a family.  He has faithfully accompanied me every step of my life journey.   Whenever I have run away into doubt, anxiety, depression, and self-indulgence,  He has gone after me, called me back, and lovingly welcomed me home.  Even in the valley of cancer, He has been faithful to calm my fears and give me hope and purpose.  I am learning to hold His hand and stay close to Him.  I no longer dream of running.

Yet are we not still strangers and pilgrims on this earth?  (Hebrews 11:13)  We long for a better country and an eternal home with the Father.  Here our treasures end up in landfills, our homes fall into disrepair, and our bodies grow stiff and cranky. In eternity we will possess treasures that will not decay or lose value in the stock market.  We will live in a house crafted by the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 14:2)  Here we endure loneliness and sorrow.  But in eternity we will see the face of Christ and rejoice forever. 

Hallelujah, we will never have to move out of Heaven.  Death will never stalk us.  No darkness, abuse, neglect, disease, or mental anguish will trouble us.   We will run and leap in resurrection bodies.  We will feast together as family at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

“What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, and what has never come into a man’s heart, is what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9)

Take heart then, dear soul, and do not fear.  Seek the things above; lay up treasures in Heaven–the good works of faith God has chosen you to accomplish.  Fight the good fight.  Run the race.  Jesus will call you home when it is time.  You will rest  like a child in the arms of the Lord.  Forever secure, you will find your truest home in Him.

Father, I confess that I often run away from You.  But You have forgiven all my sins through the sacrificial death of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  That’s how much You love me! 

You have called me to be Your child.  You have filled me with Your Spirit.  You have clothed me with Your righteousness.  You are preparing an eternal home for me and a homecoming celebration! 

Lord Jesus, You are my security.  I trust in Your faithful love, that You are working everything together for my good.  With Your help,  I will glorify You and follow wherever You lead. 

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit I pray.  Amen.

      1. Kids Sing Death
  a song about going Home, from the musical Pilgrim’s Progress

Enlightened?

Posted by admin on September 27, 2011 under Encouraging Words | Read the First Comment

Pumpkin Is Enlightened

Jesus said to the people,

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 (NIV)

What do you do when the lights go out?  After checking the fuse box and electric meter, I went back to the piano ((harmony supplied by the droning generator next door).  At sunset I set out all my emergency gear, picked some strawberries, and ate a moonlit patio supper of canned beans and sardines.  

Finally it was too dark to see my shadow.  Candles made little difference inside, but the cats played tag with the thin circle of flashlight.  I read from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, prayed for my husband, stranded at work, and surrendered to sleepiness hours before my usual bedtime. 

I used to be afraid of the dark.  Being a near-sighted kid didn’t help; when I took off the specs, I was nearly blind.  But that fear, along with many others, has been lifted by the Lord.  I can testify to this promise:  “He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).  By His grace, I am not the person I used to be. 

As an unhappy teenager, anxious to be intellectual and “enlightened,” I examined philosophies and religions and attended cult meetings.  I still have friends who believe that meditation, good works, holistic living, and self-denial are the way of “enlightenment.”  Others trust in their own reason, education, and the tenets of evolutionary science. 

Like the country gentleman who tried to ignite an electric lamp with a match, they do not know the Source of all power.  

When the Lord enters our darkened souls, His laser light of love immediately cleanses us from every sin–past, present, and future. He bathes our wounds in healing beams of truth and mercy.  Our eyes, dimmed by despair or clouded with doubt, are opened; like the blind man in Mark 8, we begin to see.  Even if we flee to old haunts and habits, saying, “Surely the darkness will hide me,” we find Jesus there, holding us with His hand.  

Someday we will wake to light eternal and see Him, face to face. As Moses glowed with the glory of God’s presence, we will be transformed into the image of Christ.   We will dwell in His glory, in the home He is preparing for us, forever with the Lord.  Darkness and death will be destroyed, and the Lord will reign in heaven and earth.

Once I was blind, but now I can see, as John Newton said.   The Light pierces the darkness even now, and all Hell cannot overcome it.  His Spirit empowers us for good works, not for our glory or “enlightenment” but to glorify Jesus and light the way for His triumphant reentry.

Today I choose to walk out of darkness into the brightness of Your presence.  Father, help me to walk in the light, “plugged in” to Your will by the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, prayer, and the community of saints, Your church.  Fill me with Your love and truth.  Shine through me.  In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

The Power is on! 

      1. Kids Sing I'm Walking in Sonlight
 from the children’s musical Pilgrim’s Progress

The Song of the Lamb

Posted by admin on August 11, 2011 under Encouraging Words | Be the First to Comment

 PSALM 23

The Lord is my Shepherd;

There is nothing I lack.

He lets me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.

He renews my life.

He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

 

Even when I go through the darkest valley,

I fear no danger,

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff–they comfort me.

 

You prepare a table before me

In the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

 

Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me

All the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

As long as I live.

               — Holman Christian Standard Bible  

PRAYER

Lord, You are my Shepherd; I am Your lamb.  You carry me gently, setting me down in green pastures to feast on Your Word. You lead me to the Living Water of salvation.  You forgive my sins, bind my wounds, and renew my life. 

You haven’t  turned me loose to wander on my own; You lead me in the right way to go.  Though I may walk through the darkest valley, even through the shadow of death, I don’t need to be afraid.  You are right there with me, correcting my steps and defending me from the enemy of my soul.

In the presence of all the evil powers of Satan who would like to destroy me, You have adopted me into Your family and called me “Beloved.”  You have anointed me with Your Holy Spirit.  You fill my heart to overflowing with love and blessings. 

Nothing pursues me but Your goodness and faithful love all the days of my life.  I belong to You.  My joy is to live in Your presence, worshiping You and declaring Your faithfulness forever!

 

Do you want a love relationship with the Lord God who made you?  The Good News is that He wants to be your Shepherd too.  http://satterfieldmusic.com/2011/03/11/good-news-for-today/

      1. The Cross On Jesus' Back
  a song about God’s love and forgiveness for you

The Great Musician

Posted by admin on July 18, 2011 under Encouraging Words | Be the First to Comment

David the son of Jesse was a great musician. 

As a lad tending sheep, he had time to ponder the glories of  earth and sky and the glorious Creator.  This unseen God made Himself known in mighty acts of salvation, rescuing his people from the tyranny of Egypt, sweeping the Red Sea aside to let them pass on dry ground.  This King-of-All-Kings fought for them, so that Joshua’s armies overthrew the evil nations inhabiting the Promised Land.  This Warrior-God was also gentle and caring as a shepherd.    Hymns of praise sprang to David’s lips as he played the harp with strong, skillful hands.  

What a surprise when he was summoned from the field to meet the prophet Samuel, who anointed him in front of his whole family!  But instead of being crowned, he was called up to be Court Musician/Armor-Bearer and Music Therapist to King Saul, who suffered from an evil spirit and bad character.  (I Samuel 16)  So David traveled back and forth from palace gigs to moonlight with the sheep.

One day he stopped by the army camp to see how the battle was going.  There was no battle.  The army cowered before the giant Goliath.  Putting the king and his older brothers to shame, David offered to fight him.

I hope you know the end of that story, how the giant fell dead and David cut off his head.  Soon he was more popular than the king.  “Women came out from all the cities of Israel” to greet the army and sing this song in the king’s presence:   “Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands.”  You can almost hear the taunting, sing-song chant of the women’s high-pitched voices.

The Bible says “Saul was furious.” (I Sam. 18)   The next time David came to do music therapy, he threw a spear at him. (That is an experience most musicians can relate to.)

Soon David and his harp were on the run, hiding in caves with a band of 400 anything-but-merry men (I Sam.22) who were “desperate, in debt, or discontented” (vs. 2). (This unlikely worship band now included his brothers!)  But still David poured out his heart to the Lord in song:

O God, You art my God; early will I seek You.

My soul thirsts for You;

My soul longs for You

In a dry and thirsty land

Where there is no water,

To see Your power and Your glory

As I have seen You in the sanctuary.

 

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,

My lips shall praise You.

Thus will I bless You while I live;

I will lift up my hands in Your name.  (Psalm 63:1-4) 

Much later King David remembered those songs in the night.  In between ruling and warring, he became Worship Leader for the Nation.  He auditioned an all-male choir of Levites to sing at the front of the tabernacle.  Soon everyone was singing David’s psalms and playing instruments he invented. 

Centuries later during a great revival, Nehemiah appointed a choir director for 245 male and female singers, along with the Levitical singers and musicians who played cymbals, harps and lyres devised by David.  “They performed the service of their God. . . as David and his son Solomon had prescribed.” (Nehemiah 12:45 HCSB)

We still sing David’s songs today, so I could make a good case for David as the Great Musician. But the Bible says:

The Lord your God is with you,

He is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you;

He will quiet you with His love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.  (Zephaniah 3:17)

A figure of speech?  Is not God the creator of music?  Has He not commanded and surrounded Himself with song, even the Song of the Lamb (Revelation 15)?  Doesn’t He put a new song in the mouths of those who trust Him? 

The Lord who sings over you, it is said, has perfect pitch.  But never fear.  You can sing your heart out to Him as David did, and He hears only the beautiful voice of the spirit in you.   You will never be gonged out of God’s presence or eliminated in a competition. 

I love to compose and sing songs to the Lord.  Over the years I’ve had the privilege of conducting congregational music, choirs, orchestras, and children’s musicals.  Now I play the organ for two services at a veterans home where some dear saints literally “sing as long as He gives them breath.”  The organ is a delightful challenge–every Sunday! 

Sometimes I feel anxious about playing this instrument or worry about singing into the microphone while my hands and feet are busy.  I forget that worship isn’t about me; it’s not American Idol. 

But sometimes I remember I am not alone.  The One who gave me the gift of music  is near.  With a prayer on my breath, I sweep all the ugly little fears and self-focus to the floor.  Now there is room.  I offer my voice and hands and feet to the Lord.  I feel His hands on mine.  Jesus the Great Musician slides onto the bench beside me.   I am the student, and He wants me to play and sing for Him.

Whatever song God gives you to sing, sing it with all your might.  Some of the melodies of life are written in dark minor keys, full of dissonance and pain.  Sing over them the hymn of praise, the descant of faith.  When your hands are too weak or you seem to have lost your place in the music, look to Him.  He is the composer of life, the conductor who knows the glorious finale awaiting His child.  

The Great Musician now is here.  Let Him take the lead.   

      1. Arise
     a song to encourage the music-maker in you

from the children’s musical Pilgrim’s Progress  http://satterfieldmusic.com/kids-musicals/