Friday, January 25, 2013

The Servants of the Secret Fire

I love Christmas music.

I also love going back to my regular favorites after a month-and-a-half of "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

It's Christmas all over again. 

A rediscovered treasury of sweet lyrics and sounds that had been hibernating in my iPod.

Oh yes! I remember now! I do love this song!

So, of course, I've been listening a lot to Light for the Lost Boy, Andrew Peterson's newest album. (By the way, AP is coming to Chicago on March 15 and I'm super-excited about it.)

I love the picture that he paints in these songs (Shine Your Light on Me and Carry the Fire). What a beautiful picture: the Body of Christ. 

Serving one another in love.

Carrying one another's burdens.

Doing life with each other.

Encouraging each other.

Just being there.

Celebrating God's goodness—together.

What a good gift God has given us in one another. What a good thing He's done—giving us one another to point each other to the One who created all this goodness. 

What a joy. And an ache for That Day. 

A beautiful, achy joy.

It makes me think of those many times God has blessed me with brothers and sisters to carry the fire for me. The times I've ben surrounded by the Servants of the Secret Fire—and I've felt God's sustaining power through His people...

I was young and didn't know what I needed—aimless. And they were faithful to lead. And provide. And point me to the One I need more than them.

A new place—unknown. New people. But, oh, the power of the Church united. And so I found... that I was still at home.

My heart broke—misled. And my dear friend listened. And held. And listened some more.

I wandered there—looking. Making new friends... not knowing how much I needed to remember the Truth. And they surrounded me. Hundreds. Worshipping the risen Christ.

I felt the pain of a loss—severed. And I called up the tired new mom. And she reminded me who I am.

I saw the raw pain of sin—aching. And then Easter. Celebrating Jesus come to life with the Bride.

On the other side of the world—unfamiliar. And there my sister was, trusting with simple faith in the same God I love.

I walked down that aisle—diving. There he was, with love in his eyes. And there they were. Supporting us as we said "till death do us part" to loving like He loves.

Reading those pages about my brave warrior sister—reminded. We must love. And we must tell them. Because they need Him.

I walked through the door—weary. To chores done. And he patiently held tightly.

I knew the Servants of the Secret Fire

Were gathered there

The embers of the ages
Like a living prayer
Shine Your light on me
Be a light unto my path
And a lamp unto my feet

And we dream in the night
Of a feast and a wedding
And the Groom in his glory
When the Bride is made ready

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Songs for the New Year

The other day I had my iTunes on shuffle and found that a lot of the songs were so appropriate for the new year! Maybe that's just because all my old music sounds fresh again after a month of Christmas music. But, in any case, here are some songs that are great for perspective and the new year. And maybe for you they'll be new songs! :)

Let Me Sing
by Andrew Peterson

I wanna open up my eyes 
And see a more beautiful world
Let the hand of God Almighty
Sweep His colors through my life
I wanna hold tight to the laughter
And ride it like a child 
On the winds that billow joyful 
Through the sky

I wanna open up my heart
But you know, sometimes it's hard to find
Because I've buried it beneath the selfishness
That I've hidden behind
I wanna stand my ground unshaken
But I wanna tremble when I kneel
And let my song remain unbroken 
Through the tears

So let me sing for the love
Let me love for the lost
Let me lose all I have 
For what I found on the cross
Let me trust you with my life
Let me live to give you praise
Lord, let me praise you 
For the grace by which I'm saved
Lord, let me sing

I wanna open up Your word
And let the thirsty enter in
So they can drink deep of the water 
You have given to them
I want to run the race with vigor
I want to fight the fight with strength
And let my song rise from a whisper
To a scream

I wanna open up my arms 
And embrace that old rugged cross
I wanna take pride in the reason
And be humbled by the cause
And when this lisping, stamm'ring tongue
Lies silent in the grave 
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I'll sing your praise
I'll sing your praise

So let me sing for the love
Let me love for the lost
Let me lose all I have 
For what I found on the cross
Let me trust you with my life
Let me live to give you praise
Lord, let me praise you 
For the grace by which I'm saved
Lord, let me sing


Good to be Alive
by Jason Gray

Hold on
Is this really the life I'm living?
Cause I don't feel like I deserve it
Every day that I wake, every breath that I take you've given
So right here, right now
While the sun is shining down

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be alive, yeah

Hold on
If the life that we've been given
Is made beautiful in the living
And the joy that we get brings joy to the heart of the giver
Then right here, right now
This is the song I'm singing out

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be alive

I won't take it for granted
I won't waste another second
All I want is to give you
A life well lived, to say "thank you"

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be, it's good to be alive

I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be alive

I won't take it for granted
I won't waste another second
All I want is to give you
A life well lived, to say "thank you"


Beyond the Blue
by Josh Garrels

Stand on the shores of a sight unseen 
The substance of this dwells in me 
Cause my natural eyes only go skin deep 
But the eyes of my heart anchor the sea 
Plumbing the depths to the place in between 
The tangible world and the land of a dream 
Because everything here ain’t quite what it seems 
There’s more beneath the appearance of things 
A beggar could be king within the shadows, of a wing 

And wisdom will honor everyone who will learn 
To listen, to love, and to pray and discern 
And to do the right thing even when it burns 
And to live in the light through treacherous turns 
A man is weak, but the spirit yearns 
To keep on course from the bow to the stearn 
And throw overboard every selfish concern 
That tries to work for what can’t be earned 
Sometimes the only way to return is to go, 
Where the winds will take you 

And to let go, of all, you cannot hold onto 
For the hope, beyond, the blue 

Yellow and gold as the new day dawns 
Like a virgin unveiled who waited so long 
To dance and rejoice and sing her song 
And rest in the arms of a love so strong 
No one comes unless they’re drawn 
By the voice of desire that leads 'em along 
To the redemption of what went wrong 
By the blood that coveres the innocent one 
No more separation 
Between us. 

So lift your voice just one more time 
If there’s any hope may it be a sign 
That everything was made to shine 
Despite what you can see 
So take this bread and drink this wine 
And hide your spirit in the vine 
Where all things will work by a good design 
For those who will believe 

And let go, of all, we cannot hold onto 
For the hope, beyond, the blue 

Said I let go, of all, I could not hold onto 
For the hope, I have, in you


O Great God
by Sovereign Grace

O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Hiding Place

It was Christmas Day at the Beem house where a dozen family members were gathered. We sat at the "kids" table (though there was no one under the age of 18 in the house). After the roast beef and baked potatoes were gone, we kids made our way to the living room. One by one, each picked up a book or a game and began to occupy himself. Lamenting that I forgot to bring my copy of Grace for the Good Girl, I headed up the stairs with Eric to the bookshelf.

A few minutes later, I headed back to the living room with my selections: Tom Sawyer, a couple Sleepover Friends books, a Babysitter's Little Sister story, and what, not surprisingly, turned out to be the jackpot: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.

I'm only 88 pages into Corrie's story, and God's already been using it to teach me some wonderful true things about Himself!

Here are some selected quotes... but I really recommend getting a copy of the book to read yourself!! I'm especially amazed by Corrie's father's wisdom. Oh, how I hope to pass on wisdom like this to my children:

"Corrie," he began instead, "do you know what hurts so very much? It's love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. "There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill the love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or, Corrie, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel. "God loves Karel--even more than you do--and if you ask Him, He will give you His love for this man, a love nothing can prevent, nothing destroy. Whenever we cannot love in the old, human way, Corrie, God can give us his perfect way.I did not know, as I listened to Father's footsteps winding back down the stairs, that he had given me more than the key to this hard moment. I did not know that he had put into my hands the secret that would open far darker rooms than this--places where there was not, on a human level, anything to love at all.” 

“If God has shown us bad times ahead, it's enough for me that He knows about them. That's why He sometimes shows us things, you know - to tell us that this too is in His hands.” 

There are no 'ifs' in God's Kingdom. His timing is perfect. His will is our hiding place. Lord Jesus, keep me in Your will! Don't let me go mad by poking about outside it.” 

“All through the short afternoon they kept coming, the people who counted themselves Father's friends. Young and old, poor and rich, scholarly gentlemen and illiterate servant girls—only to Father did it seem that they were all alike. That was Father's secret: not that he overlooked the differences in people; that he didn't know they were there.” 

“At last we heard Father's footsteps winding up the stairs. It was the best moment in every day, when he came up to tuck us in. We never fell asleep until he had arranged the blankets in his special way and laid his hand for a moment on each head. Then we tried not to move even a toe. But that night as he stepped through the door I burst into tears. "I need you!" I sobbed. "You can't die! You can't!"Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. "Corrie," he began gently, "when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?" I sniffed a few times, considering this. "Why, just before we get on the train.""Exactly. And our wise Father in Heaven knows when we're going to need things too. Don't run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need--just in time.” 

Thank you, Lord, for this Christmas gift (one of many) I didn't even know I needed. Thank You for causing me to forget my book at home and leading me to choose this book instead of the Babysitter's Little Sister book. Thank You for saving Corrie Ten Boom and her family. Thank You that Corrie lived to tell her story. Thank You for the wisdom we can gain through this story. Help us to trust you, remembering that we need never to "be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”