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Posts Tagged ‘Steven Curtis Chapman’


Isaiah 55: An Invitation to Grace

Saturday, June 8, 2019

All you who are thirsty, come to the waters . . .

We are told in the story of the Revelation (7:16) that those who thirst will find true water which quenches forever.

I will renew you with the everlasting covenant . . .

We are told by the prophets Jeremiah (23:4) and Ezekiel (34:16) that the true Shepherd has promised to bring all of his sheep home from all the places to which the false shepherds have scattered them so that none of them shall be missing.

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near . . .

We are told in the Gospels to knock, ask, and seek (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9) while the bridegroom lives among us (Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19, Luke 5:34, John 3:29).

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord . . .

We are told in the first letter to the Corinthians (13:1) that our childish ways are not the childlike ways in which God asks us to walk; and in Ephesians (2:2) that the ways of the world are not God’s ways.

For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.

We are told in Ezekiel (37:27) that God will dwell among his people; and we are told by Jesus in the Gospel of John (10:34-38) that he was sent among us to call his faithful home, and that these faithful live in him just as he lives in the father.

Yes, in joy you shall depart, in peace you shall be brought back . . .

We are told in Jeremiah (29:11) and throughout the Psalms, but especially in 126, that God has plans in mind for us which are plans for joy rather than sorrow.

This shall be the Lord’s renown, an everlasting imperishable sign . . .

We are told in the Gospel of John (4:10) that God offers us the gift of everlasting life, of true water which quenches forever.

All of scripture is Christ, is God’s word to us, God’s expression of love to us.  And all of this scripture cries out to us that we are invited to the feast of the bridegroom as the beloved bride.  In the album Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman there is a song entitled The Invitation which tells us all we need to hear about the love the father holds for us. It reminds us that we are bride to a constant, faithful, ardent lover, the true prince of peace who leaves nothing lacking, who will not rest until he holds us closely.  This is our invitation to blessing.  This is our invitation to beatitude.  This is our invitation to grace.  This is our invitation to love.


A re-post from May 25, 2012.

Images from: http://www.parisianevents.com/parisianparty/what-to-wear-to-a-wedding-in-france/ and http://matttullos.com/grace-is-on-a-family-tree/

To listen to Steven Curtis Chapman sing “The Invitation” click here.   

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John 17:11-12: Unfolding Our Story

Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019

When Jesus prays for his disciples, he speaks to a loving parent as if reporting in on a project.

I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.

Jesus speaks not only to this loving parent but to us today as he says,

They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.

Jesus continues to speak to his loving parent,

I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world;
They’ll continue in the world
While I return to you.

Jesus prepares for his exodus to the resurrected life and as he does, he prepares us for our own exodus.

Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

On this Ash Wednesday, when we consider that we are beautiful dust from a great star collision millennia ago, we remember that Jesus takes us with him on his great exodus to new life.

On this day when we remember that God is an ever-patient, always giving parent, we remember that the Spirit abides with us every step of our journey.

On this day when we remember that we are dust, we also remember that this glorious ash unfolds our hearts to pull us together in one great union with Christ.

On this day, we remember, and we celebrate this great blossoming gift of eternal love.


Listen to Steven Curtis Chapman’s Glorious Unfolding at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKMjEvF2Fkw

Images from: https://www.stpaulsf.org/96 and http://stevencurtischapman.com/

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ghirlandaio: Annunciation of John the Baptist to Zechariah

Ghirlandaio: Annunciation of John the Baptist to Zechariah

Luke 1:20-25

Speechless

But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the days these things take place. 

We cavil against God’s plan; we complain about God’s time; we fuss with the details of God’s space and time. And this despite the evidence of God’s love and care that stand boldly and honestly before us.  We persist in worrying and hoping to control.

God says: The story of Zechariah may seem a harsh one but when you look more closely you will see another layer.  In all those days that Zechariah could not speak he drew nearer to me than he had at any other time in his life.  And out of this great restraint and learning comes the beautiful fruit of his knowing my love.

We too frequently see the details of God’s plan as stumbling blocks rather than stepping stones.  We too seldom trust that God’s infinite plan brings compassion to all.

The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces; the reproach of God’s people the Lord will remove from the whole earth.  (Isaiah 25:8)

Listen to the words of the song Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman and imagine what we might learn when we cease talking and begin to listen.  Imagine the strength of God’s love that leaves us speechless.

Visit the Benedictus page on this blog to reflect on Zechariah’s response to God when his speech returns.

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Friday, October 5, 2012 – Job 3 – Job’s Plaint

If you have time over the week-end, spend some of it with this most important book of wisdom and a commentary.  These are words we may all write from time to time in our pilgrim journey home.

Job, innocent of wrong-doing, has all taken from him – family – friends – wealth – health.  There is nothing left and he is in turmoil because his friends advise him that all he need do to regain his former security and status is to repent of his wrong-doing.  They chide him, assuring him that once he confesses his suffering will cease.  In the OT, suffering is often sent as a form of punishment for straying from God, so even though Job might look for sins to confess in order to gain peace, he is helpless in his situation because . . .  Job has done nothing wrong.  He suffers because Satan plays a game with God.  There is no reparation he can make.  There is no problem to solve.  No forgiveness to ask or receive.  However, there is one thing which Job has – and perhaps his wife and friends do not – he has an enduring and persevering faith in his Maker.  And so this is where he turns.  And as he turns to this wondrous, awesome God, Job speaks from a broken heart.

Once when I was working through something deeply personal, I was lovingly haunted by a song by a Christian artist named Steven Curtis Chapman.  The words are below, as is a link for the music.  May they bring you peace when you find yourself writing your own plaint to God.  And may you rest in the certain knowledge that we are never alone, we are never abandoned.  We are constantly held, constantly loved.

Be Still and Know

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy
Be still, O restless soul of mine
Bow before the Prince of peace
Let the noise and clamor cease
Be still

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that he has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change
Be still

Be Still, and know that He is God
Be Still, and know that He is God
Be Still, and know that He is God

Be Still; Be speechless

Be still and know that he is God
Be still and know he is our Father
Come rest your head upon his breast
Listen to the rhythm of his unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come
Be still, Be still . . .

You may also want to read Psalms 37 and 46 and . . . Be still . . .

Hoping you enjoy a long and peaceful week-end.

For the music that accompanies these words, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHlbnNUHQGI&noredirect=1

First written on October 10, 2008. Edited and posted today as a Favorite. 

For more on Being Still, visit the July 4, 2o12 post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/07/04/be-still/

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