Sunday, August 19, 2012

Help Through Difficult Times


Sunday Scripture

and a

Song



"The Lord is my strength and shield.
    I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving."
Psalm 28:7 (NLT)


Believe in the Truth that God is our help in every situation. Never be afraid to reach out to Him in your time of need. Praise Him in the good times, and praise Him in times of trouble. He will provide all we need.

Today's uplifting song is from The Museum, and is titled 
"My Help Comes From the Lord"

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Subscribers please click Hope to find to view this video on my blog site. Thanks!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sing Your Sorrows Away



Vacation Bible School was in full swing last week at our church. We had almost sixty children participating, along with many youth and adult leaders. Through crafts, singing, Bible stores, games and even snack time, the children learned more about Jesus and how God works in their lives.


This year's theme helped the children learn that God can help them with anything they might need: wisdom, strength, comfort, hope or just the right words to say. They learned that they are forever safe in God's arms, and that they can always trust God for help whenever they need it. 

It has been my special privilege to be the song leader for our VBS during the last three years. I lead the children in singing songs that help teach the Bible verse for the day, including active motions which require lots of energy. 

I share my joy and love of our Lord with the children through my singing, and I draw upon their energy and enthusiasm to keep me going. I've found that this week can be rather exhausting, but very gratifying!

It brings me such joy to see their sweet smiles. Their faces light up as they sing, and I see innocence in their eyes and the promise of all their tomorrows. Sometimes I almost lose my place in the song as I look out at their sweet faces. There is such honesty in their sweet demeanor, and I am honored to be leading them.

Sometime later they might recognize me in the parking lot or the hallway at church, and I feel a connection with them that will hopefully last for a lifetime. When the children see me in the in church leading the singing during worship or singing with the choir, they remember me from our fun times during VBS, and I think it may help them to feel a connection to the grown-up service and a sense of belonging. 

The songs we sing are joyful and full of energy, and they offer a lesson to me, too. I may be having a difficult day, and feel weary as I get up in front of the group; but then the words of the song reach my own heart and I remember that God is with me, too, and will help me to get through any struggles that I face. Soon my worries are forgotten as I sing to those smiling little faces and share the joy I know through God's love.


Joy through living, and especially through singing, is what keeps me going through challenging times. And no matter what the difficult days bring, if I can remember just to sing, my mood lifts immediately and my focus is turned elsewhere.

It isn’t always easy to do. If I am feeling particularly blue, singing is not the first thing I think of to help. But when I remember what a healing balm singing is to my soul, I make the choice to try to sing. 

Most often, I will sing a familiar hymn or contemporary Christian song. At first, I think it can be almost mechanical, but soon the lyrics guide my thoughts right to where they need to be: with God. His healing grace carries me through my difficult days, and His love touches my heart with His mercy.

Today the children sang in worship, and shared two of their fun VBS songs. At the end, the entire congregation joined them in singing the last verse of Kum ba yah. It was a really special moment for everyone.

This has been a wonderful week with the children, full of joys; and also a difficult and challenging week as I endured some personal sorrows, but music has carried me through, along with the prayers of my sweet sisters and brothers in Christ. Sharing music during worship today continued to be the healing balm I needed, and many others in the congregation as well.

We sang Laura Story's "Blessings" during worship today, and as people's hearts heard the words, there were a few tears shed. Tears are good. They are healing, too.

I will leave you with a song by Addison Road called "Hope Now" which always reminds me that God is my help; and no matter the storm, I need only to turn my thoughts - and my song - to Him.

Blessings to you all, my friends.




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Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Hope is in God



Sunday Scripture

and a

Song




"Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken."
Psalm 62:5-6

Aaron Shust performs a song written by April Geesbreght
"My Hope is in You"






Subscribers please click on Hope to find to view this video on my site. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Garden of Hope



Our spring lawns, once lush and green, were crunching under our feet. The fields of endless rows of corn displayed drying husks months too soon. Though we have received some respite with the recent thunderstorms, it will take more than a few showers to restore all the plants, and some, including crops, may be beyond remedy.


These pictures are from my gardens, which I have maintained throughout the drought by daily watering. Though time-consuming, this was very important to me, because watching my gardens grow brings me joy and hope. I would suffer along with my plants if I allowed them to whither and die.

This tiny portion of earth that I have kept watered has kept my hope alive that life will be restored in the parched areas of the Midwest and beyond. This drought has left many shrubs crispy and brown, and trees have languished with the lack of moisture. I shudder to think of the farmers who depend on their crops as their livelihood, wondering if there will be any crops at all to harvest.

Thankfully rains, sometimes in the form of storms and torrential downpours, including hail and high winds have scattered over our parched land here in Southeastern Wisconsin, bringing respite to the plants and hope to the farmers.

Amidst the despair of watching so many plants succumb to the drought, these bright gardens of mine have given me hope that life will be restored once again.

This awful drought in the season of what is normally a thriving growth period has reminded me of winter, when all hope can be lost of seeing the natural world spring back to life. We wait anxiously hoping for life to be restored.

There are times in our personal lives, too, where seasons of drought or deep winter affect how we find hope in our lives, yet we need to have hope to believe in new beginnings.

One way to begin finding hope is to be grateful for what we have instead of bemoaning what we do not have. It is helpful to make a daily list of what you are thankful for. Make this a habit. It can be little things, simple things, things that bring you joy.

When we begin to focus on what is good in our lives, we find the strength to make it through the challenging times. Daily keeping our focus on God, who provides all we need, and offering thanks to Him for the goodness in our lives, helps to keep our thoughts more positive. This, in turn, kindles our hope for better tomorrows.

We believe in the goodness that life can bring. Though we must suffer through storms of life and difficult times when we feel our hearts will break, if we an can focus on what is good and true, offering thanks and truly feeling grateful, we can weather whatever comes our way, whether it be drought or storm.






"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy —think about such things."  Phillipians 4:8 (NIV)