Tag Archives: glory

Worship Wednesday – One Day – Lynda Randle

Enoch walked with God; then he was not there because God took him.Genesis 5:24

By faith Enoch was taken away, and so he did not experience death. He was not to be found because God took him away. For before he was taken away, he was approved as one who pleased God.Hebrews 11:5

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” – Matthew 25:23

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”2 Timothy 4:7

A dear friend of mine died last week. Nabila Massoud. I knew her by her family nickname FonFon. She was Egyptian, a widow and mom of two daughters, a physician, a beloved sister, a grandmother, and a beautiful friend. Most importantly, she was a faithful, devoted follower of Christ. From a very early age.

I can’t believe she is gone. I will never forget her. One day, because of Jesus, I will see her again.

We have known each other since 1995, when our family moved to Egypt and moved into her family’s building in Nasr City. She taught me so much about how to live well in a city that would become home to us. How to speak Arabic, how to understand and honor Egyptian people and their culture, how to do family life and hospitality, how to navigate around Cairo, how to pray and worship in another language, and how to trust God’s promises in hard days.

FonFon was a rock for me. I loved (love) her so much. She knew my mom and dad, and Dave’s as well. I also knew hers and spent time with her extended family. We celebrated our children’s birthdays and successes. We were family. Hers and ours.

This has been a really tough year for FonFon. Her daughter Dina (in image below on right) became very ill and would finally die. She, like her mom, had a beautiful way about her and a deep faith. FonFon was actually a patient in the same hospital as Dina in those days for she also had become ill. Three months after Dina died, FonFon would die.

What a Homecoming that must have been for her. To be with her Lord, with family who had gone before, and with her precious Dina.

[Sarah, FonFon (Nabila), and Dina – Beautiful mom and daughters]

Young Sarah, FonFon’s other daughter, would be there for both her sister and then her mom in those days of passing. Thanks to livestreaming, we were able to hear Sarah speak in tribute to both her sister and then her mom, with God’s strength to carry her through all the emotion. I was so proud of her.

My life has been so impacted by this family and especially this dear friend. Only one year older than me.

Enoch (in verses above) was spared dying. He walked with God through his life and then God just took him Home. Although FonFon had to endure through an illness that never abated, she went through it as she had passed through her whole life…with her Savior. Well done, Dear One! Welcome Home.

[Below is an excerpt from FonFon’s obituary.]

Nabila Massoud, or Fonfon as most people know her, was truly one of a kind. One of the most amazing people you could have ever met. She was always leading by example, putting others first, extending help to those in need no matter how big the sacrifice, and she had one of the most wonderful smiles ALL the time, in the toughest of times.

Fonfon, looking back at your life, the short years you spent with us on earth, makes us know that no one has an excuse to lead a miserable life or lose their faith no matter what hardships they face. And the reason is simple: you did it.

You endured the hardest of circumstances all through your life, and you always came out stronger, with more faith and with a big smile on your face. Your life and love for the Lord will always be an example and source of inspiration to many.

We love you and will always miss you, until we meet again!

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4Obituary of Nabila FonFon Massoud

Worship with me to a great Gospel song – One Day. One line especially reminds me of FonFon: “I wanna get so close to Him that is’ no big change, on that day that Jesus calls my name.”

Some days drag. Some days fly
Some days I think of the day I’ll die
Some days fill me and some days drain
And one day Jesus will call my name

One day Jesus will call my name
As days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same.
I wanna get so close to Him that it’s no big change,
On that day that Jesus calls my name

Most days I pray but some days I curse.
It’s that number of days I put myself first.
But it’s not what I do, the cross made that plain.
And one day Jesus will call my name

One day Jesus will call my name
As days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same.
I wanna get so close to Him that it’s no big change,
On that day that Jesus calls my name

One day Jesus will call my name
As days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same.
I wanna get so close to Him that it’s no big change,
On that day that Jesus calls my name

One day Jesus will call my name
As days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same.
I wanna get so close to Him that it’s no big change,
On that day that Jesus calls my name

One day Jesus will call my name
As days go by, I hope I don’t stay the same.
I wanna get so close to Him that it’s no big change,
On that day that Jesus calls my name

On that day that Jesus calls my name
On that day that Jesus calls my name*

*Lyrics to “One Day” – Songwriter: Phill McHugh

What to Do to Hear “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant” – Clarence L. Haynes, Jr.

https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/christ-and-cancer

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/can-cancer-be-gods-servant

https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-cancer.html

https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-24-god-able-ephesians-320-21

Worship Wednesday – Our Christmas Hope – Jesus Is Alive – Josh Wilson

Photo Credit: Wikipedia; Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

[Adapted from the Archives]

Angels appeared to shepherds on the Bethlehem hillside:

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:9-11

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the Baby, who was lying in the manger. After they had seen the Child, they spread the message they had received about Him...The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, which was just as the angel had told them.Luke 15-17, 20

Shepherds appeared again, years later, to three women, visiting the tomb of their Lord:

Do not be afraid. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here! See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.”Mark 16:7

Ordinary people. The God of the universe delivered the best news ever…to ordinary people. So startled by the messenger angels, they had to be settled by the words, “Fear not!” This sort of thing doesn’t usually happen to ordinary people…but God.

What hope we have in the coming of Christ…then on that starry night in Bethlehem, His coming into our hearts as we receive all He is, and His coming again…in the not so distant future.

That hope sends us, like the shepherds, in search of that tiny obscure family. In a town so full of people that night, they could not even secure proper lodging. Yet, by miraculous means, the shepherds found Him.

That hope sends u, also like the shepherds to tell others the good news. The news that Jesus has come!

The women at the empty tomb did not find Him…there! He had gloriously “left the building”. That rekindled their hope. Their Lord was risen, and they must run and tell that good news, as well.

In thinking about these accounts, I’m reminded of camp songs. You remember those songs we learned as a child or teen? Those songs that stuck with us all through the years…either because of the message or how we felt singing them. Over and over, night after night at camp, and then over again with our friends after.Photo Credit: Flickr

Josh Wilson‘s Christmas song Jesus Is Alive is like telling a story around a campfire. It causes me to wonder at how the shepherds must have recounted the story of that wondrous night. How the women talked around their own fires in the evenings after that trip to the tomb. I can just see the fire, large before us, warming our faces, popping and crackling, brightening those in the circle and casting shadows beyond. Sparks flying up to the sky.

Josh’s song celebrates that baby born for us, and his song also points us to a blessed redeemer, a risen Savior. As I write, there’s a little figure of the Christ child on my work desk. Wrapped in swaddling clothes as recorded in Scripture (Luke 2:7). Something about this figure reminds me of Jesus’ death also (John 19:40). Jesus, as an infant, was briefly swaddled before he grew up and became a man like no other. After the briefest of glorious ministry, he died a horrific death…for us. Let that soak in again. His body would be wrapped in grave clothes but would not be bound by them.  He rose to life again, right out of those burial cloths. Hallelujah, Jesus is alive!

Worship with me as we tell this great story again in sweet song. Let’s warm ourselves by the shepherds’ fire. Let’s glory in the Savior as he brings the Kingdom of God to us ordinary people. Let’s run into the tomb to find it emptied, and, without delay, take the message to those who need to hear. There’s hope, People. Jesus Is Alive!!!

Wish that I was there,
On that silent night,
When your tiny heart started beating for mine,

I wish I could have seen,
The star in David’s town,
When you turned a stable into Holy ground.
I sing along, the angels song.

(Chorus)

Noel, Noel, Jesus is alive.
Emanuel, hope is here tonight.
So go, and tell, the world that death has died.
‘Cause Jesus is alive. Yea Jesus is alive.

The God who made us all,
With these two little hands,
Is bringing us his kingdom quiet as a lamb.
Oh such Amazing Grace!
A divine conspiracy.
This Savior in a manger changes everything.
That’s why we sing.

CHORUS

Sin you have no sting.
Hell you have no power. (Jesus is alive)
Curse you are no more.
This is your final hour. (Jesus is alive)
Because the son of God
Has not left us alone. (Jesus is alive)
He’ll live and die and rise again, and then he’ll bring us home. (Jesus is alive)
The old will pass away
And we will become new. (Jesus is alive)
This baby boy is making all sad things untrue.

CHORUS (X2)

Jesus is Alive!!*

*Lyrics to Jesus Is Alive – Josh Wilson

Worship Wednesday – That Was Then, This Is Now – Josh Wilson’s Song of Jubilation – Deb Mills Writer

#PeopleMustKnow

Worship Wednesday – You Are Faithful – From David Crowder’s Neon Steeple Album

blog-you-are-faithful-cardensdesign-saved2000Photo Credit: CardensDesign; Saved2000

Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre. For the LORD takes pleasure in His people. – Psalm 149:2-3

And David danced before the Lord with all his might. – 2 Samuel 6:14

The last time I danced in public was with my son at his wedding…but there are times when I’ve come close to just letting loose…and here’s why.

The seriousness and sorrow in this life can draw us down without our even being aware. Then…when our attention is drawn back to God, and the wonder of His beauty and love and constancy…even the hard of life takes on a different hue.

Joy in knowing God and the truth of His Word sometimes just takes us out of ourselves and into worship. Our arms go up, hands raised to Heaven. Our bodies sway maybe. Our feet throw their own party.blog-dancing-in-the-church-fred-luterPhoto Credit: Blog.al

When worshiping with the gathered church, I’m pretty reserved…not wanting to draw attention to myself in any way. Still…unbridled joy might make us come outside of ourselves at times.

Yet Jesus himself said “the very stones would cry out” in worship…if we are silent (Luke 19:40). For those who observe a jubilant gathering of God’s singing church and think it odd, we are just trying to stay ahead of nature. Declaring and reveling in His magnificent glory.

David Crowder‘s music and how he (with writers Cash and Bentley) describes God resonate with my heart so much…it makes me feel like dancing!blog-david-crowder-godtubePhoto Credit: GodTube

Worship this great God with me.

Never moving like a mountain
Never ending like the sea
Like a sunrise, bringing blue skies
Your light is all around me

Though I’m prone to leave Your side
You chase me like the tide

You are constant in my wandering
You are brighter than the dark in me
You are the love that sets me free
You are faithful, You are faithful, You are

Ever waiting for the weary
Ever wanting them to see
There’s ransom, there’s forgiveness
Your hope is all around me

Though I’m prone to leave Your side
You draw me like the tide

You are constant in my wandering
You are brighter than the dark in me
You are the love that sets me free
You are faithful, You are faithful, You are

Never leaving or forsaking, You are
Holding me when the waves are crashing, You are
Pulling me like gravity into Your arms
Into Your arms, into Your arms

You are constant in my wandering
You are brighter than the dark in me
You are the love that sets me free
You are faithful, You are faithful, You are*

Joy…overflowing in my heart! Thank You, God.

*Lyrics to You Are – Written by Hank Bentley, Ed Cash and David Crowder

Crowder Music

Album Neon Steeple by David Crowder of Crowder Music

My Favorite 10 Crowder Songs of All Times by Elise Cleary

Worship Wednesday – With Hope – Steven Curtis Chapman

Blog - Heath Funeral - Grieving with hopeWe do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.    –            1 Thessalonians 4:13

It’s been quite some time since I attended a funeral. Not that we haven’t lost dear friends in the last few years…but we lived far away at the time and just didn’t go. This time…when Heath died…we went.

Death is something no one wants to have to look on full-face. There’s no way really to polish it up. It is our final enemy. Our temptation is to remove ourselves as far from suffering and death as we can. When someone you love is on this path, then how can we do anything else but enter in…?

Heath lived 15 months or so with a devastating, killing cancer. That in itself was a miracle. When he died, a small loving family is left to figure out a new normal for their lives. They won’t be alone in this.

How thankful I am that God draws close to His children in the daily and in death. Heath’s wife and children will have what they need to face what comes next. God is faithful. God is good.

When a gifted, lovely 42-years-young man dies, leaving a wife and three little girls, can we say in this that God is good? If we cannot, then we never can. We cannot see what God sees, but we know from experience and from His Word that He will work good out of every situation in His children’s lives…every. single. situation.

Heath understood that, and he lived it. His family does as well.

You might not think that a funeral can be a joyous thing. I don’t cry easily. Maybe after so many of our own losses, maybe after years of cancer nursing…tears just don’t come at the usual times. During Heath’s funeral, I couldn’t stop them from rolling down. Out of love and out of loss…but also out of wonder at the beauty of God’s care and character.

With Hope is a song written by Steven Curtis Chapman in 2008 after the accidental death of his 5 y/o daughter, Maria. The tribute video for Heath at his funeral featured this song as the soundtrack and it was so right. Somehow, especially in times of loss, God weaves a deep hope into our faith. I saw it in Heath’s family…and I experienced it myself. God is good…always.

Worship with me.

This is not at all
How we thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We has so many dreams
But now you’ve gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you

And we can cry with hope
We can say good-bye with hope
‘Cause we know our good-bye is not the end
And we can grieve with hope
‘Cause we believe with hope
There’s a place where we’ll see your face again
We’ll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God’s plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father smile and say ‘well done.’
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
‘Cause now your home
And now your free

[Chorus]

We have this hope as an anchor
‘Cause we believe that everything
God promised us is true

[Chorus]

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope*Blog - HeathPhoto Credit: Facebook

Postscript: Toward the end of Heath’s funeral, a solitary musician with guitar began to sing Come to Jesus We, in that gathering, were all suspended in our thoughts of Heath, sad in our loss of him and full of joy that he was Home with the Lord. In the emotion of that moment, the singer, just into the first verse of that beautiful, soulful song, faltered. He willed his voice to continue but couldn’t. Even as his voice gave away, soft voices in the congregation took up where he left off. He strummed the guitar, and we sang…quietly, full of reverence at the meaning of all before us.

It is what we find in the truest experience of the Family of God and the grace of God. We all falter sometimes…we all fall. He lifts us up – either through the hands and voices of others, or by His own hand and word. He carries us. He helps us see beyond the pain and wretchedness of an unbelievable loss…to the glory of that life, of our lives, and His glory reflected in them.

Hallelujah!

*Lyrics to With Hope by Steven Curtis Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:3-9

Worship Wednesday – Because He Lives (Amen) – a Song by Matt Maher

Blog - Matt Maher Because He Lives

“I was overcome by trouble and sorrow, then I called on the name of the Lord; ‘O Lord save me!’ The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 116:3-9

“I’m alive, I’m alive…because He lives.”

I went to bed last night with dread and woke up with peace. How does that happen?

Just four times a year, I lead a training session for women who work in very difficult situations. It’s a task that leaves me undone every time because of their lives and stories. Last night, I determined this session would be my last. It was just too uncomfortable for me to stand in front of women I admire so much and try to offer something to them. Either in a dream or in my thoughts just before waking, God spoke to me. “You give these women an opportunity to circle up and glorify Me (God) – to talk about how I show up for them. For their sakes…and the sakes of those they love…and for My glory.”

My sorrow turned to joy…with a word from a loving and true God.

Some people who choose to live secular lives are put off by God’s desire for us to glorify Him with our lives. They don’t know that it’s not because God needs us to give Him glory. He. needs. nothing. I think it’s because if we don’t see Him in all our circumstances, we will focus our thinking on lesser, less true, things.

We are born worshippers. God put that in our DNA from the beginning. We will worship. You can fill in the blank on the object of that worship.

Worshipping God brings the universe aright from wherever we are, be it in a time of prosperity and all is well with work, family, and friends. Or in a time of great struggle…when our thinking is clouded by a weight of wrong…from our own personal circumstances or those of someone we love.

We know and love a couple going through a very hard time. The young husband and father has been given a diagnosis that could devastate any of us. Yet they hold tight to a good God and are surrounded by hundreds of praying friends and family. God is being glorified in their walk through this…and the ripple effect is wide. Blog - Because He Lives

The verses from the Psalms atop this blog were the first post I read on Facebook today – put there by close friends of this family – colleagues dealing with his diagnosis and their own personal trials today. They were comforted by David, the writer of that psalm centuries ago. David, who knew and glorified the same God we follow today. Our circumstances may be different, but God is the same – in power, in mercy, in grace.

Would you take a moment to pray for these two families – so like the rest of us – as they glorify GOD in the midst of trouble? We are held close by His strong arms, and His love is the truest thing we know in this life.

Matt Maher wrote a song that communicates this so well. He collaborated with Chris Tomlin and Bill & Gloria Gaither. Your hearts will be touched, I’m sure, as mine was.

Worship with me:

Because He Lives (Amen)

I believe in the Son
I believe in the risen One
I believe I overcome
By the power of His blood

Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives

I was dead in the grave
I was covered in sin and shame
I heard mercy call my name
He rolled the stone away

Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
Every fear is gone
I know He holds my life my future in His hands.

Photo Credit – WPLG Radio

Story Behind the Song Because He Lives (Amen) with Matt Maher

Story Behind the original Because He Lives by Gloria & Bill Gaither

YouTube Official Lyric Video for Because He Lives (Amen)

Matt Maher Music

Lyrics – from Clayton Imoo’s blog

Gaither Homecoming Because He Lives

Psalm 116 Commentary

Worship Wednesday – Bring the Rain – MercyMe

Blog MercyMe

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12, ESV

MercyMe, the Christian band, has touched my worshipping heart in these recent seasons of my life. It started with Here Am I, Send Me, the first song of theirs that resonated with what God was already speaking to me at that time.

Then there was the song I Can Only Imagine, a favorite of both my mom and older brother. Each of them died early, at least from our standpoint, and I ache for the day we will all be together again.  That song has come on the radio often over the last few years, just for me…and maybe for you, too. To comfort me in my missing of family gone ahead…and to stir up my hope and confidence in the knowledge of our merciful God.

Bring the Rain is not a new song but it’s most recently come to me as a gift from God during a time of struggle. It is so easy for us to take our eyes off the Lord, even though we don’t want to and we know doing so takes us nowhere good. When this fallen world presses in on us, whether through illness, loss, or disappointment, we do well to remember that God is good through all of our circumstances. We are to hold on to Him, as He holds tightly to us…no matter what.

I hope you can take a moment to worship God through these lyrics.

Then watch the video at the end of Abigail Smith’s journey through a cancer that took her life but could not touch her love for Jesus.  I also rejoice at getting to meet and know her in Heaven one day. This same God who sustained Abby through a hard last year here is the God that MercyMe worships, too…and we with them.

Bring the Rain

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I’ve gone through

The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It’s never really ever crossed my mind

To turn my back on You, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times

So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory

And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain

So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings you glory

And I know there’ll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that’s what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Is the Lord God Almighty

And I forever sing
Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Is the Lord God Almighty

Everybody sing it
Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Is the Lord God Almighty

You are holy, You are holy
Lord, You are holy
Is the Lord our God
Is the Lord our God Almighty, yeah, yeah, yeah

Everybody sing it
Holy, You are holy
Oh, holy, holy, holy, yeah, yeah, yeah
Is the Lord God Almighty
Is the Lord God Almighty, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Is the Lord God Almighty

Bring the Rain – Song Story

Amazing Abby – A Legacy of Hope