Help Us Accept Each Other (a hymn remake)

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,  but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails-  1 Corinthians 13

If I have faith, but not love- I am nothing.

If I give to the poor, but do not do it out of love- I gain nothing

God is love.

I am nothing without God.

I am nothing without His love.

If I do anything that is not out of love– it is meaningless.

How many times have you done the right thing because you knew that was what you were supposed to do? I have done it for years!  But if I really love Him, I have to do everything out of love. Without love in our hearts, “doing the right thing” still doesn’t cut it!

For many years, I have “done the right thing” when it comes to certain situations.  But we aren’t supposed to just do the right thing- we are called to LOVE.  When we LOVE, when we love with God’s love– His love compels us to do the right thing- each and every time- without fail!

And without reciprocity.

No strings attached kind of love. Because that’s what His love is like.

We don’t deserve it.

We can’t earn it.

But when we accept His love, He compels us to give it- freely.   And His love changes people.  I know, because it sure has changed me!

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8 

A dear friend showed me this hymn a while back.  These words have resonated with me for quite some time.  I set it to new music and also added a chorus to it.  May He give us a passion to love those who hunger for the kind of love only He can give!

 

“Help Us Accept Each Other”

Help us accept each other

as Christ accepted us

teach us as sister, brother

each person to embrace

be present, Lord, among us

and bring us to believe

that we are ourselves accepted

and meant

to love and live

to love as You have loved

to give as You have given

to die to our own desires

so we may do Your will

and love as You have loved us 

Let Your acceptance change us

 

so that we may be moved 

in living situations 

to do the truth in love 

to practice your acceptance

until we know by heart

the table of forgiveness 

and laughter’s healing heart 

Lord, for today’s encounters

for all who are in need

who hunger for acceptance

for righteousness and bread

we need new eyes for seeing

new hands for holding on

renew us with Your Spirit, Lord,

free us, make us one

*original text by Fred Kaan 

Pedestals

Every time I turn around
Another one’s falling to the ground
Giving in to pride and sin
like dominos they tumble
and we watch their lives crumble

We put them on pedestals
nowhere to go but
down, down, down
We see them on the TV screen
But everything’s not what it seems
behind the scenes
There’s nowhere to go but
down, down, down

Everybody needs some grace
Some help to find a better place
But even when we start again
Sometimes we all stumble
It reminds us to be humble

CHORUS

Every praise belongs to Him
Whose name is sung by seraphim
‘Cause we all know that He will win
It’s the ending to His story
And we give Him all the glory

We can put Him on the pedestal
He’ll never let us down, down, down
And in the midst of stormy seas
We know that He will hear our please
if to our knees
Each day we fall down, down, down

My daughters absolutely adored the show 19 Kids and Counting.  They couldn’t wait to watch Jill and Jessa get married- and waited on pins and needles to see if their new baby would be a boy or a girl.  My girls even got to go see Jessa Seewald speak at a ladies’ conference and it was like a dream come true for them. It was so refreshing for me to know that there was a family in the spotlight who were living out their faith in such a public way.  The news came out about Josh Duggar the week after the girls and I went to see Jessa speak.  As heartbroken as I was to talk about the situation with them- it turned out to be a positive thing. It opened doors for some very important conversations and also gave them a real life example that no one is perfect- and we can’t always believe the things we see and hear on TV. We all make and we all need God’s grace… and there is no such thing as a “perfect family”.

When we put people on pedestals, they are bound to fall down.

Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates.   Matthew 23:8 (Msg)

late fees…facing the shame of my overdue library books

FullSizeRender

This is how I will remember what we’ve checked out from the library… taking a photo of my fabulous finds 🙂

My fears

of what “might be”

are far worse than

reality

Only realized in 

retrospection

so I’m striving to do

better

and not be such a 

“fretter”

as I take the time for  

reflection

I have a little confession to make: I am a procrastinator…and a little forgetful.  So once I have procrastinated- even just a little bit– it’s quite possible that I have completely forgotten to do whatever that thing was in the first place.

Like returning library books.

We went to the library several times last summer, and once the girls were back in school- I simply forgot to return our books.  So, a few weeks past the due date, I dropped our late books off at the library. They were not open at the time, so I put them into the outside book drop.  I felt shame over how late these books were.

The thought crossed my mind that maybe I could get through their childhood without ever returning to the library again.

And then summer came once again…

“Let’s go to the library!” one of my girls suggested.

I admit that I came up with every excuse in the book to NOT go to the library.  Only because I didn’t want to face the shame of once again having extremely late books.  After a ridiculous amount of begging to go, I finally gave in and chose to act like a responsible adult. Surely my late fee wouldn’t be more than like $200?

As I climbed into the car, my other daughter reminded me that we still had one of the books from last summer.  I ran in the house, and sure enough- I found yet another book we had had for MONTHS.

The 5 minute drive to the library felt like 5 years.  I had a lump in my throat and felt like I was going to have a panic attack. We pulled up to the building and I slowly began my walk of shame, with the late book in hand. I approached the counter and began to fess up.

“Please forgive me.  I am ashamed, ” I earnestly confessed to the librarian- in those exact words. The lady behind the counter gave me a puzzled look. Clearly she had no idea how embarrassed I was.  She took my book, scanned it and told me the damage. She wasn’t phased in the slightest.

“That will be $40”

“That’s it?”

I couldn’t believe it!  And I was even more embarrassed that I had waited so long to face the music.

My fears of what might happen are always far worse than reality. How silly I felt for holding onto that guilt for all those months.

You know what is even better though?  That we can come to Jesus- no matter what our sins are, no matter what we have done or how much time has passed…and there is never any “late fee” to be paid.

How many of us don’t feel worthy of His forgiveness?  The sad thing is that we punish ourselves when we choose to feel guilty and ashamed of things we have done.  We all fall short- but His grace is sufficient, and He is there to catch us. In Christ, we are freely forgiven!  When we go to Him to ask for forgiveness and to make things right- He tells us our “late fees” have already been paid in full!

The lesson I learned that day was  priceless- far more valuable than that $40 late fee!

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  -Romans 6:23