Thursday, May 26, 2011

Yet, to the true and the faithful...

Conquering now and still to conquer,
   rideth a King in His might;
Leading the host of all the faithful
   into the midst of the fight;
See them with courage advancing,
   clad in their brilliant array,
Shouting the Name of their Leader,
   hear them exultingly say:

Not to the strong is the battle,
   not to the swift is the race,
Yet to the true and the faithful
   vict'ry is promised through grace.

Conquering now and still to conquer,
   who is this wonderful King?
Whence are the armies which He leadeth,
   while of His glory they sing?
He is our Lord and Redeemer,
   Savior and Monarch divine;
They are the stars that forever
   bright in His kingdom shall shine.

Not to the strong is the battle,
   not to the swift is the race,
Yet to the true and the faithful
   vict'ry is promised through grace.

Conquering now and still to conquer,
   Jesus, Thou Ruler of all,
Thrones and their scepters all shall perish,
   crowns and their splendor shall fall,
Yet shall the armies Thou leadest,
   faithful and true to the last,
Find in Thy mansions eternal rest,
   when their warfare is past.

Not to the strong is the battle,
   not to the swift is the race,
Yet to the true and the faithful
   vict'ry is promised through grace.

-- Frances J. Crosby

Sunday, May 8, 2011

You make my heart sing

There is a soft silence... The small lamp across the room sheds its warm glow, dispelling the surrounding darkness. It is mostly quiet now, only an ambient buzz, an insect seeking entrance at the window in the door... My mind drifts back on memories so long ago... memories that bring a warmth in my heart and a smile to my lips... memories of someone I love. Indeed memories, yet even more than memories for these are stories that have been etched in the sands of time - some even too old to stand in the shelf of my mind.

She was a pioneer. A valiant mother and wife. Life was not easy, no not when dust storms left inches of powder across the whole house in a matter of minutes, when the main staples of food at the market consisted of dried okra, eggplant, and grapefruit, and when the seasons were flipped so the only time to grow a garden was in the winter - the summer just got so hot that nothing would grow... 120 degrees in the shade...

She was a real woman, with two little girls in a strange land and now a little baby boy - given birth in a rustic hospital under the care of unknown foreigners... A young family, and the only family with skin lighter than the sand that graced the dessert floors. There was no internet, no cell phones. She left her family and friends behind to venture into the unknown, supporting her Beloved in ministry to the destitute of the world.

The dessert sands were soon replaced with mountains and eucalyptus trees. There were deadly snakes to watch for and fires that would nearly take away the things that were held so dear. She braved a little hut made from the offcuts of the nearby lumber mill - till the house could be built. There was a simple packed dirt floor... a stump for a chair and a board for a table, and rats that graced the rafters overhead. Moldy walls and cold showers from a bucket... a pit toilet with a bee hive bellow... army ant infestations... But it was not just a hut, it was a home - because she dwelt there.

They built a beautiful house, a dream come true... and all to soon it was time to leave. Back to the sands of the dessert, back to the blistering heat, cockroaches and scorpions. Yet in every place she made a home. There were candle lit Friday nights with sweet rolls and mission stories. Family games and fun... a song and a kiss goodnight. She was always there to patch a skinned up knee, or kiss a hurting finger. She taught us to cook, bake bread, and clean the house. There was always another garden to work and learn in, and a little family to nourish.

Time passed on with more moves and changes... and now there is a little farm. A home in the quit wooded hills... a garden... and still a little family to nourish.

Indeed this is my Mother - a woman of courage and hope.

I think back with fondness of those years - and through it all I can see her smile, and hear her song.

Thank you mother for the sweet memories of hiking the rugged mountains, or just sitting in your lap.
Thank you for being my comforter, teacher, and friend... and for making my life special.
Thank you for singing to me when tucking me in bed... for your smile... and the glimmer in your eyes...
Thank you for the little books pasted together from magazine pictures, with songs that will always be treasured in my heart.
Thank you for holding my hand as the tears stained my pillow when my little boys heart was crying for a brother... and for crying with me...

But most of all, thank you for teaching me about Jesus and pointing my eyes to the cross...

I will ever be indebted to the prayers and the tears of your heart on my behalf. And one day... one day soon I'll hold my crown before the whole universe in honor of your self sacrificing love in giving everything for me...

Thank you mother - you make my heart sing...

I love you, and I'll forever be -

- your little boy...

"When the judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened; when the "well done" of the great Judge is pronounced, and the crown of immortal glory is placed upon the brow of the victor, many will raise their crowns in sight of the assembled universe and, pointing to their mother, say, "She made me all I am through the grace of God. Her instruction, her prayers, have been blessed to my eternal salvation."
- Child Guidance p. 564

Happy Mother's Day. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

A beautiful day

Indeed it was a beautiful day. Thank you Richard Steffens for all your hard work in capturing, editing, and making this beautiful collection of highlights. And thank you to your team. :)

I will remember that day in many ways - but most importantly in how my Father continues to pour out His grace...

In calming trembling hands as their fingers graced the keys...
The embrace of a friend...
The scribed words of a heart that was moved with love - His love...

Thank you Jesus, thank you for everything.

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