Saturday, December 15, 2007


I had an interesting thing happen a few months ago. A woman I do not know stopped me at school and seemed to be a bit stunned. Among other things she said, "oh, I see God showering you with blessings like a river." Despite my skepticism about such things, I felt like my spirit was agreeing with hers, and I have been puzzled as to what it meant. As time went on I put this to the back of my mind and if I thought about it, I wondered if she was a kook or a false prophet. I would be afraid to prophesy for the Bible has much to say about false prophets. And yet, I have clung to the hope of scripture and of that word.

Wednesday night, December 5th, we had a special service at church. A few months back one of our little guys, just 2 years old, fell out a second story window and suffered a severe brain injury. He was not supposed to survive, then he was not supposed to wake up, then not speak, hear, see, move, walk, etc., etc. God did not listen to the doctors, and as people prayed for this little boy all over the world, he is considered a miracle by the doctors. He is home now, and though he has a long road ahead of him, he can see, speak, hear, walk and more (though many of these things require special assistance right now). He and his entire family came and provided a meal to thank the church for their support. We had a baptism service, communion, praise and worship music and a blessed speaking. There wasn't a dry eye in the place as we thanked and praised our Savior for his wonderful works.

Afterward I remember saying to someone that I felt like rivers of blessing had just washed over me all night. Then I remembered what the woman said. Now, I'm not going to get all weird on you, but I believe that this very strange woman uttered a true word from the Lord.

Part of what is amazing, is that it became clear to me that the blessings that God was going to pour out on me like rivers wasn't just about satisfying my material needs. In fact, if you remember what I told you about that service, those things that blessed me had nothing to do with my own circumstances. What they were is reminders to me of the goodness and faithfulness of God that moved me deeply to worship and praise and brought a wellspring of love and adoration up out of my heart.

Since then, I must tell you the latest. I get together with a friend of mine every six months or so for lunch. She is just a great person who I truly, truly enjoy, and whose professional services I have recommended to many of my friends. She works in the staffing industry, helping employees and employers find each other and to have a really great fit. Well she runs the local office for her company. We were getting together as sort of a thank you for all the referrals I have given her. She called to arrange the time as I was standing in line at the customer service counter at Safeway. We hung up and then she called back, not three minutes later. "You're not looking for a job are you?"

No one knew I was looking, for I had simply been talking to the Lord about it, seeking wisdom and guidance and going to him with requests, talking about my goals for this and other things and asking him how to make these things happen. One of those goals was for appropriate employment that would allow me to help people and NOT to be a secretary again.

The job she mentioned sounded great, so we agreed to a lunch interview. When we were able to finally get together, I had already spoken to her and asked the questions I most wanted to know, and had asked people to pray that I would have wisdom about this opportunity. When I showed up for lunch, she said, "let's not do the interview thing. I just want to hire you." We discussed a couple of specifics before I would commit and then had a very nice lunch.

She called back later to see if we could start the full-time thing sooner and to finalize the salary offer. Truly this job is more than I could ever ask or think. And that is something I have been praying for that He would show me great and mighty things I know not of. He has answered my prayers in ways I could not have imagined, and has truly given more than I could ask for. Certainly I had not thought of this job, although it surely meets everything I have been asking.

From blessing to blessing. I am standing in the flow of a river of blessing. Truthfully, I have been standing in the flow for a long time, but my spiritual eyes could not see the river for the painful circumstances I have been in. Perhaps I needed to learn to trust when everything looks so terribly bleak, or perhaps, like Job, I have passed the test and am now being blessed to have the restoration of the things the locusts have taken.

Anyway, I have determined that even if this job doesn't work out, that I will praise his name anyway. Test me if that happens. Remind me if I should fail in this. He gives and he takes away. Who am I to argue with Almighty God? Who am I to question his goodness? Who am I to question how he chooses to care for me? Sometimes he chooses to provide for me through gainful employment, other times he touches someone's heart to share what he has given them with me. Either way it is all from the hand of God.

It is a strange paradox, that the River of Sacrifice and the River of Blessing are one and the same. They both flow from Immanuel's veins. There is pain in the blessing and joy in the sacrifice. But tonight, rejoice with me dear ones. Rejoice. His mercies endure forever.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Weepies

There are some commercials that spark my interest not for what they are selling, or the message of the commercial, but because the music is compelling or fun. I couldn't get the JC Penney commercial out of my head. The music that is. I went on a search, made more difficult because I couldn't quite make out all the words.

Finally, I searched on the tagline and JC Penney and found The Weepies. Based on nothing more that my desire to hear the entire song, and the fact that my search turned up other nuts who were also compelled to search them out, I bought the album Happiness.

I love the album, and find myself reminded of the lyrics at odd times. How about the title track with the line that sticks in my head "It's a mean town but I don't care, Try and steal this, Can't steal happiness." I love that. You can lift my wallet, steal my cell phone, but I rejoice in the love I have found. Can't steal that.

The snow is so lightly spitting that I wasn't sure it really was snowing this morning, but seeing the tiny flakes against a blue sky and I had to go in and turn on "All That I Want" to hear my favorite verse:

Above the rooftops

The full moon dips its golden spoon

I wait on clip-clops, deer might fly

Why not? I met you

I'm not a music critic. I don't have the right words to describe their voices, or even what is so compelling about them, but next time you are watching TV, pay attention to the JC Penney commercial. If you find it com least you know where to find the music compelling, at least you know where to find it without all the time searching.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

River Called Sacrifice

River Called Sacrifice
There is a river called Sacrifice,
and my Savior asks me to jump in.
But the current is swift and the waters are dark,
I look back at the place where I've been.
I can return to the meadow called Safety and Peace,
but He calls me on, "Jump in."
"The river’s awash in the blood I shed
as a sacrifice for sin."

I’ll just dip a toe in, I think to myself,
and see if the water is warm.
I’ll test the flow to see if it’s safe.

But I can’t find a gentle shore.
The choices are two, stay put or jump in.
There’s no choice for half-out and half-in.
So I must now decide to stay or to jump
in the river called Sacrifice.

God has sometimes parted the river,
but many are swept off their feet.
It is not a safe, lazy river.
but turbulent, wild and deep.
Stephen was stoned in the river,
Victorious when they thought he was beat.
O, many have died in the river;
Is this somewhere that I want to be?

I look at the current swift and dark,
and the end I do not know.
But I leap from the bank at the love on His face
and find peace in the midst of the flow.
I’m surprised when I land to find shallows,
and it gently tugs at my feet,
but as I keep going I know that each step
could carry me down to the deep.

When I jump in there is no going back,
the bank behind me too steep.
But there is a joy in the river,
that mingles with sorrows so deep.
The pain is so strong in the current,
but He whispers, “Be still,” and “Peace.”
And my heart is calm in the midst of the flood
that may soon sweep me off my feet.

I see in the river the martyrs
of all who have gone on before.
From the prophets of old to disciples bold
they all cheer from the far distant shore.
There are faces among them I know not,
but I know now for whom they died.
And they show no regret for the lives that they gave
in the river of Sacrifice.

The river shows me many faces.
It shows scorn and ridicule, too.
It shows gunshots, stabbings, beheadings,
and beds filled with sickness and woe.
It shows me the face of rejection,
the bankruptcies, scandal and strife.
It shows me the wrong accusations;
it’s all in the Sacrifice.

I find Him in the midst of the river,
in a way that I never have known.
I see his love and compassion
and I see wounds--scars for me he bore.
Such mercy, and tenderness found there;
such grace and forgiveness untold.
His love has a depth with no start and no end
in the river called Sacrifice.

Should the current grow strong and o’erwhelm me,
don’t cry and plead from the shore,
don’t pray for my safety, or for my release,
for I’m here in the river by choice.
For my Jesus is in the river
and I share in his sufferings here.
But where he suffered abandoned, alone
I have him with me, e'er so near.

So if you are standing in safety
by the pastures of pleasure and rest,
and you hear his voice calling “Come join me.”
oh, come in, for the water is blessed.
Of pain I can promise you plenty,
of purpose I promise you more.
But the sweetest gift here in the river
is Jesus, the one I adore.

Oh, there is a river that flows here.
It’s name is called Sacrifice.
And it flows with the blood of my Savior;
the one who for me has died.
He bids me join him in the river
and makes me no promise of life.
But he promises comfort, and joy and peace,
in the river called Sacrifice.