Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sunday Songs of Grateful Praise

Last week my sweetheart and I traveled to the mountains of Eastern Oregon to go deer hunting. The views were gorgeous from the mountain roads. The weather was cold and brought some snow. It was obvious that winter was on its way.  As we drove high mountain roads the beauty around us was incredible. I couldn't be still! Songs came to mind and overflowed from my heart and voice. Seeing the snow reminded me of God's promise to us.

'Come now, let's settle this,'
says the Lord.
'Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them as white as wool.

Isaiah 1:18

And the prayer of King David came to mind.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:7

Early one morning as we drove high on the mountain the words of a song I learned as a young girl became my prayer.

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to ransom my soul.
Break down ev'ry idol, cast out ev'ry foe:
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus for this I most humbly entreat;
I wait blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet.
By faith, for my cleansing I see Thy blood flow:
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, Thou knowest I patiently wait;
Come now, and within me a new heart create.
To those who have sought Thee, Thou never said "No:"
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 

Whiter than snow, yes whiter than snow;
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Song: 'Whiter Than Snow'
Written by James Nicholson (1872)

You can listen to this song here.

With A Grateful Heart,

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sunday Songs of Grateful Praise

I love this old hymn. Although the story behind it is heart-breaking, the truth of the words has stood the test of time. I've sung this song many times at church, at memorial services and when I needed the reminder that it really is well with my soul.

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago with a lovely family - a wife, Anna, and five children. However, they were not strangers to tears and tragedy. Their young son died with pneumonia in eighteen-seventy-one, and in that same year, much of their business was lost in the great Chicago fire. Yet, God in His mercy and kindness allowed the business to flourish once more.

In November of eighteen seventy-three, the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre was crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe with three hundred thirteen passengers on board. Among the passengers were Mrs. Spafford and their four daughters. Although Mr. Spafford had planned to go with his family, he found it necessary to stay in Chicago to help solve an unexpected business problem. He told his wife he would join her and their children in Europe a few days later. His plan was to take another ship.

About four days into the crossing of the Atlantic, the Ville du Harve collided with a powerful, iron-hulled Scottish ship, the Loch Earn. Suddenly, all of those on board were in grave danger. Anna hurriedly brought her four children to the deck. She knelt there with Annie, Margaret Lee, Bessie and Tanetta and prayed that God would spare them if that could be His will, or to make them willing to endure whatever awaited them. Within approximately twelve minutes, the Ville du Harve slipped beneath the dark waters of the Atlantic, carrying with it two hundred twenty six of the passengers including the four Spafford children.

A sailor, rowing a small boat over the spot where the ship went down, spotted a woman floating on a piece of the wreckage. It was Anna, still alive. He pulled her into the boat and they were picked up by another large vessel which, nine days later, landed them in Cardiff, Wales. From there she wired her husband a message which began, “Saved alone, what shall I do?” Mr. Spafford later framed the telegram and placed it in his office.

Another of the ship’s survivors, Pastor Weiss, later recalled Anna saying, 'God gave me four daughters. Now they have been taken from me. Someday I will understand why.'

Mr. Spafford booked passage on the next available ship and left to join his grieving wife. With the ship about four days out, the captain called Spafford to his cabin and told him they were over the place where his children went down.

According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” while on this journey.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trumpet shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Anna gave birth to three more children, one of which died at age four with dreaded pneumonia. In August eighteen-eighty-one, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem. Mr. Spafford died and is buried in that city.

And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding,
shall keep your hearts, your minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7.

Song: 'It Is Well With My Soul'
Written by Horatio G. Spafford

You can hear a beautiful rendition of this song here.

When the world seems upside-down, what a comfort to know that it is well with my soul!
With A Grateful Heart,

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday Songs of Grateful Praise

That's me with my dad! I had an incredibly wonderful, loving, kind, gentle and Godly father. He was a preacher and anyone who knew him knew he always lived what he preached. And that's true - what you saw in public was the man he was at home. He was a good father - and I was blessed!

Quite a few years ago a new song appeared in worship music in churches around the world. It had special meaning to me and I immediately identified with it. You see, the way we visualize God is often influenced by our relationship with our earthly fathers. That was true of me. The Heavenly Father described in this song touched my heart deeply because my earthly father taught me by his example that I can trust my Heavenly Father.  He taught me that God means what He says. He taught me that God loves me more than anyone on earth will ever love me and His love will never fail. He taught me that God is good, even when it seems things are wrong or unfair - because God is a good, good Father.

I've sung this song many times as I've walked through tough times. It's always a reminder and a comfort and it brings reassurance and peace to my troubled heart. As my father was about to leave this world I sat beside his bed in the middle of the night and sang this song. I sang it repeatedly through the last days of my dear mother's life and I sang it again recently as I faced a serious health crisis. The words are true - God is a good, good Father. No matter what things look like. When life is good and all is well. In those in-between times when you don't know what's going to happen. In the hard times that seem as if they will tear you apart. God is good all the time! I know it's true because He has proved it to me over and over again. He's a good, good Father - that's who He is. And I'm loved by Him - that's who I am!

Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like
But I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you're pleased
And that I'm never alone

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

Oh, and I've seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we're all searching
For answers only you provide
'Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

'Cause you are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

Oh, it's love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think

As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

You're a Good, Good Father
(You are perfect in all of your ways)
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
(You are perfect in all of your ways)
It's who I am, it's who I am it's who I am 
So if you sinful people know

how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father
give good gifts to those who ask him.

Matthew 7:11
(New Living Translation)
Song: 'Good, Good Father'
Sung by Chris Tomlin
Written by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown

(you can hear the song here)

With A Grateful Heart,

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sunday Songs of Praise

The splendor of the King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice

How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God

And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
The Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

Blessed are you, God of Israel,
our father
from of old and forever.
To you, O God, belong the greatness and the might,
    the glory, the victory,
the majesty, the splendor;

Yes! Everything in heaven, everything on earth;
    the kingdom all yours!
You’ve raised yourself high over all.

Riches and glory come from you,
    you’re ruler over all;
You hold strength and power in the palm of your hand
    to build up and strengthen all.
And here we are, O God, our God,
giving thanks to you,

    praising your splendid Name.
I Chronicles 29:11-13 (The Message)

Song: ' How Great Is Our God'
by Chris Tomlin
You can listen to the song here

With A Grateful Heart, Adrienne

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday Songs of Grateful Praise

One  of my favorite hymns was written in the late eighteen-hundreds by an English lady named Francis Ridley Havergal. She wrote many well-known hymns, poetry and children's books.

While vacationing she became seriously ill with pneumonia and was not expected to live.  Her friends were amazed at how peacefully she received this information. She survived and later that year she wrote the hymn "Like a River Glorious". She pointed to the source of her perfect peace: "Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed, finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest."

Miss Havergal was a devout Bible scholar. She incorporated the truth of Scripture in this hymn where God promises "peace like a river." This hymn paints the picture of this peace. The hymn was first published in its present form with the name "Perfect Peace," in Hymns of Consecration and Faith in 1876.

This hymn has touched my heart all through my life - from my youth until now. I have sung it often when peace seems impossible. I have sung it joyfully as a statement of what I truly believe - God does us give His peace when we focus on Him!

 Like a river glorious
  Is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious
  In its bright increase.
Perfect, yet it floweth
  Fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth
  Deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah,
  Hearts are fully blest,
Finding as He promised,
  Perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow
  Of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow,
  Never traitor stand.
Not a surge of worry,
  Not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry
  Moves the spirit there.
 Stayed upon Jehovah,
  Hearts are fully blest,
Finding as He promised,
  Perfect peace and rest.

Every joy or trial
  Falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial
  By the Sun of Love.
We may trust Him fully
  All for us to do,
They who trust Him wholly
  Find Him wholly true.
Stayed upon Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blest,
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.

You will keep in perfect and constant peace
the one whose mind is steadfast
[that is, committed and focused on You -
in both inclination and character],
because he trusts and takes refuge in You
[with hope and confident expectation].

Isaiah 26:3 (Amplified Bible)

You can hear the beautiful melody of this old hymn are recorded by one of my favorite Pacific Northwest musicians, harpist Bronn Journey, here.

With A Grateful Heart,

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday Songs of Grateful Praise

Today I'm starting a new feature on my blog. On Sundays I plan to share a song that has special meaning to me and speaks to my faith. I love the old hymns and some of the newer songs of praise and faith. I hope they speak to your heart as they do mine. I may share the stories behind the songs and a Bible verse or two. I might share how a song has touched my life and I may share how songs have touched the hearts of other people.

If you know me well, you know that music has always been an important part of my life. I started singing almost the moment I realized I had a voice. When I first discovered my grandma's piano I couldn't keep my hands off of it. I studied music through my growing up years and through college and taught piano lessons for many years.  I've used my music gifts to serve God in many places. Music seems to be embedded into my soul. I can't imagine a world without it. If you visit my home you will most likely hear music playing or you may catch me singing as I go about my day. It's only natural that music has been a part of my life - in the best of times and in the hardest of times.

During my recent health crisis and through the continuing recovery time there have been many songs that have spoken deeply to my heart. Some were prayers asking God for strength to walk the path ahead. Some were songs of praise and faith for what He has done and will continue to do. Some were songs that brought joy and peace; others were songs that caused me to stop and worship Him. One song that was new to me has become a song I sing often these days. The words are exactly what is in my heart! I hope it blesses you, too.

 Lord You've been good to me
All my life, all my life
Your loving kindness never fails
I will remember
All You have done
Bring from my heart
Thanksgiving songs

New every morning is Your love
Filled with compassion from above
Grace and forgiveness full and free
Lord You've been good to me

So may each breath I take
Be for you Lord, only You
Giving You back the life I owe
Love so amazing
Mercy so free
Lord You've been good
So good to me

I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King! and I'll bless your name into eternity. I'll bless you every day, and keep it up from now to eternity. God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough. There are no boundaries to his greatness.Psalm 145:1-3
(The Message) 

Song: 'Lord You've Been Good To Me'
Written by Graham Kendrick
Listen to the song here

With A Grateful Heart,

Friday, August 16, 2019

Simply Grateful

It's been a long time since I've shared anything here on my blog. Too long, in fact, but life really came hard and time away was necessary. There are so many things I want to share - and I will. I honestly hope to get back to being here often to share my comings and goings and things on my heart. Today I will just share the big reason I've been away so long. Later I'll catch you up with other things I've done through this year.

Life can take a major turn when we least expect it and that's exactly what happened early this Spring. Tests to determine the cause of continuing upper digestive pain revealed that my gallbladder was one hot mess! I knew where that diagnosis was leading but I was totally unprepared for a more serious health crisis that ensued. The ultrasound also showed that I had a large mass in my left kidney. Consultation with my doctor led to a CT scan that revealed that the mass was a large tumor. The tumor appeared to be renal cell carcinoma. Cancer. Not an easy diagnosis to hear. Your life can never be the same again when you hear the words 'very high probability that you have cancer'.

The kidney was high priority so I saw a kidney specialist first.  Due to the size and location of the large tumor, my left kidney would have to be removed - cancer or no cancer. Two surgeries would be required. My kidney specialist would remove my kidney and a general surgeon would remove my gallbladder.  I asked if it was possible that I could have both surgeries done at the same time. His answer was a relief. Yes, the two surgeons will coordinate one surgery - one surgeon and his team will begin the surgery and exit the operating room. The second surgeon and his team will take over and finish the job. Two surgeries in one! One hospital stay; one anesthesia and recovery.

I had surgery early in May and stayed in the hospital for three nights while my body began to adjust to life with one kidney. My remaining kidney is strong and healthy - that's good news - but the best news of all was the phone call from my kidney doctor with the lab results from my tumor. He had joy in his voice when he told me - NO cancer. Benign! The percentage of possibility for this outcome was very small. But many people were praying for me. I was at peace no matter the outcome because my life is in God's hands. But this news brought tears. Tears of gratitude. And such relief.  We laughed together on the phone as tears poured down my face. Because of the type of tumor I had I will have to have a yearly ultrasound for the next two or three years, but I am healthy and doing well.

Recovery is long and slow when a kidney is removed. I knew this going into surgery so we planned for me to live life at a slower pace as long as I need to. It's amazing how God created our bodies to handle this situation.  A Bible verse I learned as a child has taken on a whole new meaning.

Thank you God for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Psalm 139:14
New Living Translation

During recovery my remaining kidney is adapting to life on its own. It's actually enlarging as it adds more filtration tissue to handle the load it carries. It's strong and healthy and working exactly the way it should.  This could take up to a year. While that happens fatigue is an almost constant companion during this process. I never understood fatigue before. I have been exhausted in the past but this is different. It's the feeling that I'm a big rag doll. I can't push myself and I run out of steam quite fast but the fatigue is getting less and less and one day won't be a part of daily life. It's beginning to taper off and I'm so grateful to have a day here and there with no fatigue. I really am doing great. I'm able to do some simple tasks again - slowly - and, if you could see me, you would probably say I look good. I look healthy - and I am healthy.

The support and prayers and love I've had from my family and friends who have walked this journey with me means more than words can say. My life has changed. I'm different now. I'll never be the same again. I don't take life for granted. Each day I thank God for another day to live and to serve Him.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise You!

Psalm 63:3
New Living Translation

There's no way to describe what I feel in my heart except to say that I am simply grateful!

With A Grateful Heart,