Be Still My Soul (In You I Rest)

I recently received this song to accompany in an upcoming worship set. I had never heard it before, but it just blew me away. It’s one of those  songs I can play at home and I don’t consider it “practice” because the “practice” is worship for me. What a blessing to my heart–I know it will bless yours too. My favorite line:

When change and tears are past. All safe and blessed, We shall meet at last.

He’s coming soon, friends. Soon! We will meet at last, the Lover of our souls! All of this pain…will…be…over!

(Click to watch the video>>>)  Be Still My Soul (In You I Rest) as performed by Kari Jobe

***

Be still my soul,

The Lord is on thy side.

Bear patiently,

The cross of grief or pain.

Leave to thy God to order and provide.

In ev’ry change,

He faithful will remain.

Be still my soul,

Thy best, thy heav’nly friend.

Through stormy ways leads to a joyful end.

***

Be still my soul,

Thy God doth undertake

To guide the future as He has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence,

Let nothing shake.

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul,

The waves and winds still know

His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

***

In You I rest,

In You I found my hope.

In You I trust,

You never let me go,

I place my life

Within Your hands alone.

Be still, my soul.

***

Be still my soul,

The hour is hast’ning on

When we shall be

Forever with the Lord.

When disappointment,

Grief, and fear are gone,

Sorrow forgot

Love’s purest joys restored.

Be still my soul,

When change and tears are past.

All safe and blessed,

We shall meet at last.

***

In You I rest,

In You I found my hope.

In You I trust,

You never let me go,

I place my life

Within Your hands alone.

Be still, my soul.

***

Be still my soul.

Be still my soul.

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Meet the Scapegoat

I had the wonderful privilege of guest-posting on Encourage 365 today. I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think!

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escapegoat(photo courtesy of The Denver Post)

“The goat chosen to be the scapegoat will be presented to the Lord alive. When
it is sent away into the wilderness, it will make atonement for the people.”
Leviticus 16:10

     Aaron was a godly priest, though he certainly had his setbacks (uh, need a golden calf anyone?). Apparently his two sons, Nadab and Abihu, chose to hang on to their daddy’s example of idolatry rather than his example of worshipping the one True God (sometimes our mistakes come back to haunt us).

     In Leviticus 10, we read about the sin which caused Nadab and Abihu to literally be smoked off the planet by a just and holy God. Fast forward to chapter 16 and now Aaron is instructed on how to make atonement for their sins, as well as the sins of the Israelites.
     For the most part I think we’re used to hearing the term “Scapegoat” in a negative light, usually we say someone is a scapegoat when they take the blame for someone else, otherwise known as being the fall guy. We don’t really want to be the scapegoat, do we? But in Leviticus 16:10 we see the true definition of a scapegoat…..
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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters online women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson Press) and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha. You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

Even the Pomegranates Cry Out

Chop. Chop. Chop.

I seem to have the best God-moments when I’m feverishly hacking away on a helpless piece of food, trying to work out my anger. It has come to be a habit. We fight—I cook. It’s how I wrestle with my emotions, think, pray, and take several deep breaths while annihilating a target other than my spouse.

“Ok, God, I know what you said in 1 Corinthians 10:13, I’ll never forget that verse…but, I’m starting to think You enjoy taking me to the edge of what I can handle.”

Chop. Chop. Chop.

Silence.

“Ok, You’re not talking. That’s ok, I have plenty to say…”

If God could get frustrated, I am sure I’d be His number one cause of irritation. “Oh, here’s Rebecca again, whining like it’s the end of the world. If only she knew how bad it could really be, maybe then she’d be grateful.”

Of course, I know God isn’t really thinking that towards me, in fact, what He is thinking about me is too mind blowing to comprehend. For example, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—the fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)

Oh, and speaking of fruit? Yeah, I was carving up several pieces of fruit to make a fresh fruit salad while conversing with God in a less-than-humble way.  He never spoke to me in those heated moments, not audibly at least. But He did find a way to cut through my incessant ramblings of self-pity.

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy seeing God in nature—all facets of nature from animals to the weather to food. My social media friends are well aware of this due to the multitude of pictures I post of the food I’m cooking, the clouds in the sky, or my dog acting exceptionally cute. Creation is beautiful, and in it I am made aware of God’s presence in the details.

Slice. Slice.

285-Pomegranate

 

And then it opened and my breath was taken away. As the crimson juices ran over my fingers and the seeds spilled out my thoughts were interrupted. “Oh, Lord, it’s so beautiful! It’s like a honeycomb giving birth to rubies!” And for a second I was so captivated by the gorgeous intricacies of that pomegranate that my self-centered complaints were replaced with worship and gratitude.

How could I ever doubt a God who took so much time carefully designing every piece of fruit to not only taste good, but look good as well? But doubt I do—and often. It’s so easy to forget in the heat of the moment. To forget all things good and grateful and focus on the ugly and distasteful.

Fortunately, God is not surprised by any of this. He knows what I will say, how I will react, and whether or not I’ll confess it. He knows I will continue to grieve His spirit unintentionally when I allow bitterness to take root, and He knows the exact moment I will fall on my knees and give it all to Him and choose peace.

When my voice fails to speak of His love, surely the pomegranates cry out in my place.

“My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” Psalm 63:5  

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, a contributing writer for Encourage 365, founder and creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of other publications. She just released her latest Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

Tarrying with “Terah”

Tarrying with “Terah”

God commanded Abram to pack his bags and take a hike—ok, not exactly in those words (see Genesis 12). Actually, God commanded Abram to leave everything familiar, the land he had probably known most of his life (Ur of Chaldees), and move to a place “that I will show thee”. I mean, God was not being terribly specific here.

But we all know good ole Abram, he was such a righteous man, surely he saddled up and moved on at the first command, right? Well, uh, not exactly. Just a few verses back in Genesis 11 we find that Abram had his own ideas. Instead of dropping everything to follow God into this “unknown” land, he did travel in the direction of Canaan (the unspecified land) but decided to tarry a while in Haran. Not only that, but he took his father, Terah, with him. This was also in direct disobedience to God’s command, which was, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house.”

I can’t really blame Abram, though. I wouldn’t want to leave my family behind to go on some mystical journey to unknown lands. I probably would have stalled a bit. But the story gets better, folks; Abram’s father’s name was Terah. You know what Terah means? It means “delay”. Maybe Terah was two weeks past his due date when his mother finally gave birth to him? We can’t know for sure why she chose such a name for Terah, but later in the life of Abram it makes too much sense to ignore. Abram was delayed by his elderly father; the same man who was himself named delay.

Eventually Abram got his act together and finished his journey, but only after his father died. “And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan.” Evidently Abram was in Haran quite some time since he obviously had a lot to gather before he left. Nevertheless, he finally did obey.

I can’t help but wonder how many times I have tarried in Haran, with my Terah in tow. How many excuses have I come up with to delay what God has clearly spoken? And once I did finally listen, how many blessings were waiting for me in the land of Canaan? In the end I have found the only thing tarrying with Terah has ever accomplished was to delay God’s greater blessing and purpose in my life.

How about you? Have you been tarrying with Terah? Have you gotten distracted by the sights and sounds of Haran when a greater blessing has awaited you in Canaan? Is it time for you to leave your Ur and head to a land “that [God] will show thee”?

A United Heart

Lou Ann stopped by my blog a few days ago and in turn, I visited her blog. I love her heart, her mission, and her writing! So, I am sharing it with you. Please read her short devotional on what it means to have a “United Heart”–obviously a subject near and dear to me. Enjoy!

Teach me thy way, O LORD;
I will walk in thy truth:
unite my heart to fear thy name.
(Psalm 86:11)
Most of this verse is simple in language and easy to understand. I stumbled a little at the word unite. What does it mean here? I looked up the Hebrew equivalent, and it means “unify; join.” Okay, but what is a unified heart or a joined heart? Commentators have several ideas about this word in the context of this verse. It can mean a “completely dedicated” heart or a heart with “undivided loyalty.” I thought of “single-heartedness,” something like single-minded.
In any case, the psalmist profoundly states his desires. This verse is his prayer:
            Teach me Your way.
            I resolve to walk in Your Truth.
            I want a heart that is wholly dedicated to respecting and following You.
Are the psalmist’s desires our desires?
            Do we really want to be taught what God wants us to do?
            Have we ever resolved (promised ourselves) to walk in the Truth (the Bible)?
            Do we have an “undivided” heart to respect and follow God?
In my counseling experience, I have found many women who want to do right. “Oh yes, I want to.” But, they don’t really want to be taught—not by God and not by anyone else either. They have never made a conscious decision to follow and know Truth. They don’t have time for God’s Word, don’t pray, and then they wonder why they’re having such a hard time grasping Truth. They have divided hearts. Part of them wants to do what everyone else does—follow “fun.” And, part of them really wants to follow God, but they’re not fully dedicated (united hearted) to it. Unfortunately, these ladies will always flounder spiritually.
I’ve also counseled women and girls who would say a hearty Amen to the psalmist’s three desires in this short verse. They are growing and changing. And they’re some of the happiest people I know.
May we all have undivided hearts!
Lou Ann Keiser is a missionary pastor’s wife with almost thirty years of ministry experience. She loves Bible study and people. Lou Ann is the mother of two married children and a grandmother. She lives in a quaint little town in Europe.
Please visit her blog: In the Way
**If you or anyone you know enjoys writing, www.servantsisters.org is currently looking for new writers to contribute devotions or photos with inspirational thoughts. You can check out the writer’s guidelines: Write For Us**

You Think YOU Have Waited a Long Time?

“[Elijah] went a day’s journey into the wilderness…and he requested that he might die; and said, ‘It is enough now, O Lord, take away my life.’” 1 Kings 19:4 (KJV)

Elijah was one of the greatest prophets who ever lived, yet even he had unanswered prayers. After being assured by Jezebel that his life would come to an end, Elijah ran for the hills. He was so weary, so discouraged, he was ready to throw in the towel, give up the fight, and be at rest in the arms of God.

God did not see fit to answer this prayer, nor has He ever answered it. The book of Second Kings records how Elijah was taken by a flaming chariot into heaven without experiencing the physical death he had wished for.  So—end of story, right?

Wrong.

Skip ahead a few centuries and we find in Revelation 11 that God has remembered Elijah’s prayer and answered it.

“And when [the two witnesses] have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war with them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city…” Revelation 11:7-8

And who are these two witnesses? According to Malachi, one of the witnesses is Elijah.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6

Elijah’s prayer was heard and will be answered—he only needed to wait a few thousand years. I don’t know about you, but I get antsy after waiting a day or two for an answer to my requests. In fact, just two weeks ago God answered a prayer I had been bringing before him for over a year. It happened in a most unexpected way (which seems to be the case most often), and even today I marvel at the circumstances surrounding His answer. But there is a big difference between one year and a thousand. I can’t say for sure, but I probably would have given up believing a positive outcome was possible if a few more years had passed.  And yet, I have other requests that have been waiting for an answer for many years. Will I choose to trust God?

Understanding Elijah’s plight gives me great hope. God does not forget my prayers, even if it seems like He has decided not to answer them. The fact is, I only see the steps in front of me but I don’t see (or understand, usually) the big picture. Maybe my unanswered prayer has a greater purpose for another time—perhaps even decades or centuries from now.

Today I will continue to lay my requests at His feet, knowing He hears, He cares, and He will answer one way or another in His perfect time.

“I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.” Psalm 17:6

Every Prayer Uttered

 

“Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 5:8

(Suggested reading: Revelation 5:1-14)

Psalm 56:8 tells us that God holds every tear we’ve shed in a Divine bottle. He hears every sob; He takes into account every painful moment we’ve experienced. We’re also told in Revelation that God has another Divine container—a bowl. This bowl preserves every prayer uttered by every saint from Adam to the end of time.

When we praise Him in worship, when we thank Him for our meal, when we cry out in anguish over our sin—every single utterance is preserved for a culminating moment in history.

Just imagine, all the host of heaven is gathered around the throne of the Father. Jesus, at the right hand of the Father, holds the Scroll sealed with seven seals. He alone stands worthy to reveal its contents. This knowledge causes all of heaven to bow in worship,

“You are worthy to take the scroll

and to open its seals,

because you were slain,

and with your blood you purchased men for God

from every tribe and language and people and nation.

You have made them to be a kingdom

and priests serve our God,

and they will reign on the earth.”

Revelation 5:9

As this proclamation thunders throughout heaven, the four living creatures and twenty-four elders fall before the Lamb, pouring out a sweet smelling sacrifice of incense. This sweet smell, this glorious offering is poured out at the feet of Jesus. Your prayers, my prayers, our ancestor’s prayers, the prayers of every martyr, and the prayers of every biblical “hero” now becomes a sacrifice of worship. Not one of them is wasted. No, not one.

Every prayer uttered is an offering–an offering now and an offering to come.

Worthy is the Lamb both now and forever, Amen.