Welcome

I’m glad you stopped by my blog.  Make yourself at home.  Start meandering by scrolling down…and you can peek into all my cupboards and closets by clicking the side bar.  I know you’ll find some strengthening articles, encouraging resources, fabulous-but-forgotten hymn texts, and perhaps a heartening smile or two.  Most importantly, I hope you’ll be strengthened in your walk with the Lord for the time you spend here with me.  If you do not yet know Him, please click here for a beautiful invitation.  To learn about how He changed my life, click here, and by clicking here you can find out a few more fun and forgettable snippets about me. 🙂

If I can do anything to be a further blessing to you, in prayer, or by improving my site, please let me know…or just write to say “Hi”!  Please click here for an email form.

Blessings ~Diane

Bring Them To Me

Matthew 4:17,18: “They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.”

Isn’t so much of life like this?

I have little faith. “Bring it to me.”

I am nearly out of strength. “Bring it to me.”

“My hope is nearly gone. “Bring it to me.”

My pockets are almost empty. “Bring it to me.”

My heart is breaking. “Bring it to me.”

My goals are crumbling. “Bring it to me.”

My joy is fading. “Bring it to me.”

My sense of peace has all but disappeared. “Bring it to me.”

The hymnwriter wrote, “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” We come at the beginning of our relationship with God, having nothing in our hands. We live most peacefully if we are able to continue in that same way…keeping our hands empty, with everything turned over to Him.

What Do I Do With My Fear?

It seems in nearly every circle of people I am a part of, there is a palpable anxiousness right now. We are watching things unfold that are frightening. We don’t know who to believe. We are asking ourselves lots of questions…maybe not even uttering them aloud because somehow that seems to make them more viable. Questions about our freedoms, our jobs, our health, our family, our churches and schools, our country, our world.

It all feels so overwhelming. There is an electric silence going on. So many unspoken pleas while we hold our breath waiting for the “second shoe to drop”. We stare in disbelief at the footage of the violence, inequity, and rage. We feel like the disciples, when the waves were breaking over the bow of their little ship. Tossed violently from wave to wave, drenched and shaking, they confront the Lord Jesus…”Don’t you care??? We’re dying out here!!!”

He had been asleep below deck. He owns the sea. The one they were adrift upon, and every other one that covers the globe. He is the Master. He moved up onto the deck, looked from face to desperate face, and then He turned to face the turbulent waters, and drew a breath. The same breath which was exhaled to bring life into Adam. Then, three simple-but-mighty words: “Peace, be still!” And there was a great calm.

If you know anything about physics, or have simply witnessed the behavior of water when it resolves to stillness after being agitated, you know it doesn’t happen instantly. Everything has to sort of de-escalate and eventually there are only slight ripples where there had previously been enormous swells and crashing waves. Who could cause an instant calm? Only One who transcends physics because He wrote all the rules.

This was the problem with the disciples. It is indicated in Mark 8, where they marveled among themselves, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”

This is the problem with us as well. Our fears arise when we have forgotten who He is. That He’s so much bigger than whatever is worrying us. We must remind ourselves.

One of my favorite passages regarding this is Psalm 34:1-8:

“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

What happens when you magnify something? I recently had a sliver in my thumb and I could not see it well enough to remove it. When I grabbed a magnifier, what happened? It made the thing bigger. Suddenly I saw it clearly. I observed all the details.

When we magnify the Lord, these things are accomplished in our hearts as well. We see Him in all His majesty…our souls are reminded of His immensity. We see Him clearly and recall His vast resume’ as “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”. We have to continually re-educate our hearts about this, because self always wants to be seated on the throne.

Today, make your fears flee away by spending some time truly worshiping. Invite others to join you, as the Psalm encourages. Do it visibly, audibly, so that the adversary sees. He is not omniscient, but is observant. Sing out loud, “All Glory, Laud and Honor” to Him and you will find deliverance from your fears.

  1. Master, the tempest is raging!
    The billows are tossing high!
    The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness,
    No shelter or help is nigh;
    Carest Thou not that we perish?
    How canst Thou lie asleep,
    When each moment so madly is threat’ning
    A grave in the angry deep?
    • Refrain:
      The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,
      Peace, be still!
      Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea,
      Or demons or men, or whatever it be,
      No waters can swallow the ship where lies
      The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;
      They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
      Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
      They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
      Peace, peace, be still!
  2. Master, with anguish of spirit
    I bow in my grief today;
    The depths of my sad heart are troubled—
    Oh, waken and save, I pray!
    Torrents of sin and of anguish
    Sweep o’er my sinking soul;
    And I perish! I perish! dear Master—
    Oh, hasten, and take control.
  3. Master, the terror is over,
    The elements sweetly rest;
    Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
    And heaven’s within my breast;
    Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
    Leave me alone no more;
    And with joy I shall make the blest harbor,
    And rest on the blissful shore.

Quiet Rest Podcast: Fightings and Fears

Listen to the podcast here.

Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.

For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.

Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 2 Cor 7:4-6

Who is your Titus? Understand that we should never look to people for perfection. Any person you might claim as a mentor or an influence for good in your life is still only human. “We are all hopelessly flawed” as Jo March stated in Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”. There is one source of perfect truth. God’s Word is “purified seven (number of fullness/completion) times” (Ps 12). So this is my official disclaimer. Because you’ll probably be able to find fault with anyone who is quoted here, including myself.  But find spiritual fact-checkers…people whose words are lined up with THE Word, our only reliable source of truth. (John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth…thy word is truth.)

I have an affinity for old, dead guys. They had an urgent message more than one that was purely for entertainment or gaining followers. Life truly was a “vapor” to them. Death was never far away. Without the conveniences and wonders of our modern medicine, the brevity of life was a truth they understood well, and prepared for earnestly.

Anyway, Jonathan Edwards (a preacher from the 1700s best known for his sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”) wrote some New Year’s resolutions, the first of which was, “I will live for God” and the second was, “Even if no one else does, I still will.” I’ll link to the full list in the blog post with the transcript for this episode. We are quickly being propelled into a spiritual climate where we’ll have to decide if we are willing to say, “Even if no one else does, I still will.”  It makes me think and take stock. I always appreciate words that do this.

Oswald Chambers (Scottish evangelist from late 1800s “My Utmost for His Highest”) is another Titus: “It is the most natural thing to be like the person you live with most; therefore, live most with Jesus Christ.”

This made me ask myself how can I “live most with Jesus Christ”? My thoughts go to this scripture:

“Let [Gk present active imperative-a command that ongoing] the word of Christ dwell in you [“be at home in you” RWP] richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Col. 3:16

AMP: [dwelling in your heart and mind—permeating every aspect of your being]

  • Bible reading
  • Scripture writing
  • Memory verses (scripture choruses)
  • Scripture prayer guide

King George VI was my Titus the other day when I read this, from his Christmas address to the Empire in 1939:  “I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” What isn’t commonly known is that a grocer’s daughter from Gloucester England named Minnie Haskins was this King’s Titus, as this is excerpted from her poem, “God Knows”.

The other day a “recovering lawyer” named Bob Goff was my Titus. I share this with his permission…or, specifically his “youbetcha”, which was his reply to my email request. Years ago he found himself in Somalia, being protected by men with machine guns. The shooting started, and, in his words: “…all I could muster in the chaos was “Yikes!”

He went on to share,

“I know it doesn’t sound big, deep, and theological, but it’s big, deep, and theological. Here’s why. I’ve spent my whole life becoming more and more comfortable. I have a house, a car, a boat. I have a dog I don’t even want. What I’ve discovered is that comfortable people don’t need Jesus and don’t chase their ambitions — desperate people do. If we’re going to get after our ambitions, God doesn’t want us living right in the middle of comfortable anymore. He wants us living on the edge of yikes.

If you want to get after your ambitions, you’ll need to move away from much of the comfort you’ve worked so hard to create. This might mean you need a change of address to your own life. Don’t worry, you’ll still get important mail from your trusted friends who will support you on this adventure. Let all the rest of the junk mail get returned to the senders.

Have you noticed how comfortable people seem to have all the opinions? Desperate people just have Jesus. Look at your comfortable job, your familiar circumstances, the predictability you’ve spent a lifetime cultivating. Perhaps these are the things keeping you from your ambitions. Could they be holding you hostage? Living on the edge of yikes can be scary and hard, and it’s sometimes even painful. That’s okay. Keep breathing. Stay after it. Move toward your edge where Jesus is waiting for you. God’s not leading us to the safest path forward, but to the one where we’ll grow the most.”

I may not be on the same page with Bob on everything, but his “living on the edge of yikes” really resonated with me.  I tend to want to avoid “yikes”…I don’t even want to step up to the precipice to look at the view. But I need the courage to step out there. I have told our kids often through the years that this world needs leaders. There are plenty of followers. To lead, you have to be okay with “yikes”.

We can claim this promise from Psalm 60: “Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.” Ps. 60:12

“We shall do valiantly, we will not be ashamed of our colors, afraid of our foes, or fearful of our cause. The Lord is with us, omnipotence sustains us, and we will not hesitate, we dare not be cowards.” Spurgeon Treasury of David

Last week, a longtime friend and missionary wife from Scotland was my Titus. She has just had surgery on a brain tumor. She has been on the edge of “yikes”. She wrote, “Over the past week, I feel like the Lord has been, through His refining fire, bit by bit remaking me.  He is stripping away all the silly things that I struggled with, making me more what I’ve always wanted to be and what He wants me to be.  It’s actually rather joyous, even if I seem teary about things.  I’ve felt myself growing closer to Him.”

 I think she would agree with Charles Spurgeon (one of my “regular Tituses) when he wrote, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the rock of Ages.”  Let that echo in your heart for a moment.

The final Titus I will introduce you to today (I’ve got a long list) is C. S. Lewis. I came across this golden quote a few days ago. He wrote, “…it is impossible for Him (God) to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favourites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thomas Aquinas (one more Titus) wrote, “Better to illuminate than merely to shine– to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.”

Gather to yourself a group of Tituses, who can speak truth into your life. And then, pay it forward and illuminate someone else. I want to do that. So here’s my prayer for the New year.

Father, open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Lord, I’m made of dust, and no one knows that better than You do. Please search me and cleanse me, and show yourself to me so that I can illuminate others and deliver truth. Amen.

Until next week, remember…

God always keeps His promises and is purposeful,

He never wastes time,

He’s never surprised,

And He always has the best, right answer.

See you soon!

Quiet Rest Podcast: Coming to the Red Sea Place

Listen to the podcast here.

Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life,

Where, in spite of all you can do,

There is no way out, there is no way back,

There is no other way but through?

Then wait on the Lord with a trust serene

Till the night of your fear is gone;

He will send the wind,

He will heap the floods,

When He says to your soul, “Go on.”

And His hand will lead you through—clear through–

Ere the watery walls roll down,

No foe can reach you, no wave can touch,

No mightiest sea can drown;

The tossing billows may rear their crests,

Their foam at your feet may break,

But over their bed you shall walk dry shod

In the path that your Lord will make.

In the morning watch, ‘neath the lifted cloud,

You shall see but the Lord alone,

When He leads you on from the place of the sea

To a land that you have not known;

And your fears shall pass as your foes have passed,

You shall be no more afraid;

You shall sing His praise in a better place,

A place that His hand has made.

–Annie Johnson Flint

You may recognize the name of this poet…she wrote the lyrics to the song, “He Giveth More Grace”. She was a prolific writer, whose verse sprang from pain and trial. She lost both parents before she turned 8. She later lost both of her adoptive parents when she was a young woman, and arthritis left her a helpless cripple. Because of her love for God’s word, she claimed His promise in scripture that His strength could be made perfect in her weakness. She was able to maintain a positive outlook and a sense of humor even though her disease finally made her wheelchair-bound and she had to eventually dictate all of her writings. Annie was convinced that God desired to bring glory to Himself through her, and encouragement to many through the words which sprang from her trials. This is one of the most famous:

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

I want to share one of my favorite hymn texts, one of what I call “hymns of desperate faith”. It was written by William Cowper, a prolific writer from the 1700’s. He was one of 7 children, 5 of whom did not survive infancy and his mother died when giving birth to his only surviving sibling, a brother named John. William was bullied in school. When he was a young man he was refused his beloved Theodora’s hand in marriage as her father deemed him unsuitable. Cowper attempted suicide 3 times and was institutionalized after being declared “insane”. He was eventually released under the care of a retired clergyman, and in his home he became acquainted with John Newton, who invited him to be a contributor for a hymn book he was compiling. William later had another bout with insanity…it makes me wonder if in reality he dealt with a chemical imbalance of some kind that could be easily resolved in our time. But he had no such resources, and so he suffered with bouts of deep depression all of his life. His anchor, as was true for Annie Flint…was the stabilizing truth Word of God.

I found this interesting connection between the two of them, who both cited the parting of the Red Sea as a source of hope and deliverance. Cowper referenced this passage from HaBAKKuk:

“Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.” Hab 3:15, 17-19

Cowper used this text as a springboard for this hymn text:

Sometimes a light surprises

  The Christian while he sings;

It is the Lord who rises

  With healing in His wings;

When comforts are declining,

  He grants the soul again

A season of clear shining,

  To cheer it after rain.

2

         In holy contemplation

  We sweetly then pursue

The theme of God’s salvation,

  And find it ever new;

Set free from present sorrow,

  We cheerfully can say—

Let the unknown tomorrow

  Bring with it what it may.

3

         It can bring with it nothing,

  But He will bear us through;

Who gives the lilies clothing,

  Will clothe His people too:

Beneath the spreading heavens

  No creature but is fed;

And He, who feeds the ravens,

  Will give His children bread.

4

         Though vine nor fig tree neither

  Their wonted fruit shall bear;

Though all the fields should wither

  Nor flocks nor herds be there;

Yet God the same abiding,

  His praise shall tune my voice,

For, while in Him confiding,

  I cannot but rejoice.

I’m inspired by hymns like these to ask myself, “What kind of song springs from my suffering?”

Scripture, and music based solidly upon it, as the saying goes, “has charms to sooth a savage breast”. “A light surprises” us when we sing, as Cowper wrote. We have a specific example of King Saul in scripture who would have David come and play his harp to ward off the evil spirit that had come upon him.

As you probably know, the Psalms are actually sacred songs or hymns. No wonder they minister so effectively to our hearts and minds. If you find yourself in a “Red Sea place” today, open your Bible and spend some time in Psalm 121 and Psalm 139. Let me know how they encourage you by commenting on my blog post containing this transcript, or by leaving a voice text at the podcast home page: https://anchor.fm/diane-heeney

Until next week, remember…

God always keeps His promises and is purposeful,

He never wastes time,

He’s never surprised,

And He always has the best, right answer.

See you soon!