Archive for December, 2012

Victory Song

Posted in Lyrics with tags , , , , on December 30, 2012 by Stephen Hare

You are holy! You are awesome!

You are precious in my sight;

I adore You, bow before You

And Your word is my delight

 

You are worthy and so faithful!

You have given me new life

I’m so thankful for Your presence

Every day and through the darkest night

 

Chorus:

 

You are the everlasting One

Forever You remain the same

By You victory over sin was won

And I exalt Your name!

Yes Lord, I exalt Your name!

 

For Your kingdom I am yearning

You know the night has been so long

Keep my light, Lord, brightly burning

And in my heart this victory song!

 

Repeat Chorus

Lyrics and music by Stephen Hare ©

BENEFITS OF A HYDRATED SOUL – Dec. 4th

Posted in Short Stories on December 28, 2012 by Stephen Hare

This is so excellent, such a wonderful and accurate illustration and perspective of our spiritual life, I had to re-blog….

Thank you once again, JD !     (Visit “A Devoted Life” for more devotionals by JD Blom.)

 

December 4, 2012 by JD Blom

1 Vote

 

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1

I have been a little preoccupied with water for a while. I read an article that being well hydrated should be part of every fitness program and that guys need to be drinking three liters of fluids per day and ladies need 2.2 liters per day. That is the minimum.  If you are working out, pregnant, breast feeding, sick, or live in a hot/humid climate, then you are supposed to drink more.  Dehydration results of falling below those targets which can have an assortment of health consequences.

I don’t want to experience those consequences so I developed a hydration plan – it consists of me drinking a lot of water. I am at work most of the day. Therefore, my plan has been to down 2/3 of my minimum fluids requirement at work.  I have a big glass to divide it all up. I have to drink four glasses before lunch and four throughout the afternoon.

Wow! That is a lot of water. Other than nearly wetting myself when a phone call went too long, it has be uneventful.  However, my company needs to start budgeting for carpet since I have significantly shorted the life cycle of the carpet between my office and the restroom.  If this is what normal fluid consumption is like, then maybe being a little dehydrated is not such a bad thing.

I have learned a several things from my little experiment:

  1. Being well hydrated and road trips are not a good combination; when your body is well hydrated, those fluids flow right on through. I realized that I regularly walked around a little dehydrated since the strategic location of restroom facilities has not been a concern for me.  Those fluids don’t normally flow through as they do when I am focused on being hydrated.
  2. It is too late when we rely upon thirst to indicate a need of fluids. Thirst is a physiological urge that comes from our body working to regulate a healthy fluid level.  However, it is a backup. Under normal conditions, most fluid intake actually comes through the normal courses of our day. (eg drinking with meals or at work breaks, water in food). To be able to drink my allotment, I had to drink when I was not thirsty. When I wait to be thirsty, I am already dehydrated.
  3. My “thirster” was out-of-whack.  I think that my body had adjusted to functioning in a partially dehydrated state.  Since I have been working at being hydrated, I get thirty quicker. It is not what I expected but I have found that my body is now more sensitive being under-hydrated and my “thirster” kicks in sooner.

My little water experiment got me to contemplating the hydration of my soul. I think we all can relate to the psalmist’s prayer for the thirst of his soul to be quenched by the abiding presence of the Lord. However, I wonder if our thirst is the same as the psalmist’s. He proclaimed a thirst accompanied by an earnest searching for his Lord. We know from the other Psalms that David drank daily from the deep well of the scriptures in his searching. I don’t see a lot of Christians earnestly seeking God like the Psalmist. That makes me think that the Church is full of dehydrated souls.

I wonder if our “thirsters” are out-of-whack.  The thirsting of the Psalmist is that of the well-hydrated man who is habitually filling himself with the scriptures before the sense of thirst strikes him.  Today, many believers are normally dehydrated and seek God only when their comfort has been jarred by need. I think that many Christians are so perpetually dehydrated of the presence of the Lord that they don’t even know what normal should be like. They hear the plea of the Psalmist and relate that to their own experience but their thirst has become accustom to being perpetually dehydrated; accustomed to a parched life. It is out-of-whack.

By the time they seek the Lord based on an out-of-whack thirst, many find themselves severely dehydrated. If you only seek God when you thirst for him then you are already parched. A well hydrated soul is the one that is drinking in the Lord when they are not thirsty.

There are several results of fully hydrating our souls on a daily basis:

  1. We can quickly respond in time of need.  We will not be in a critical unhealthy state so that we can respond appropriately to the various trials, temptations, suffering that we might face. We all will face various challenges.  We are better prepared for those challenges when we our souls are well hydrated in the Lord.
  2. Our desire for our Lord will increase. When we are regularly filling up on the Lord’s presence, our thirst for our Savior becomes more sensitive and reactive. Our thirst will be a better regulator of what is healthy for our soul.
  3. The Lord will overflow from us.  When we are saturated from seeking the Lord it is inevitable that it will come out of us (in a good way). I think that some folks are so dehydrated that every ounce of the Lord’s presence gets sucked up into their own parched soul. Our Father is so great that there is no limit to his presence. We need to be drinking deeply and that is when we will overflow into the world around us.

How is the hydration of your soul? Are you drinking deeply from the spring of living water?  There will be a day when we will no longer thirst. There will be a day when we no longer need to work at hydrating our souls but that is not today. Today, we need to be drinking before we thirst; drink deeply my friends.

PRAYER: Lord, You are the essential of my life. I will dry up and blow away without you refreshing me.  Lord, refresh me today – replenish me today. Father, I want to overflow with your presence; fill me with your Spirit. Give me a desire for you that is not my own.    Amen

Journey’s End

Posted in Lyrics with tags , , , on December 24, 2012 by Stephen Hare

What is the name of the road you travel?

Oh, where leads the path of your feet my friend?

Can a name the mystery unravel…

or – how shall you know your journey’s end?

Oh, where will you be at your journey’s end?

How can I know the road that I travel?

My way is so dark, I cannot see;

I followed the light of life’s empty pleasures –

The light was so bright, it blinded me

Yes, life’s empty pleasures blinded me

Walk in the way of understanding, walk in the path that you cannot see;

Don’t follow your eyes, they’ll only deceive you

Walk by faith and you’ll walk by Me

Walk by faith and you’ll walk by Me

Follow mercy, walk in the Way

If then you lose yourself a new life you’ll gain

Follow righteousness, walk in My ways

If then you lose yourself a new life you’ll gain

If I follow where you lead me

Could I be free, though I were bound?

And if I answer when you call me

If I were lost could I be found?

Oh, if I were lost could I be found?

Walk in the way of understanding, walk in the path that you cannot see;

Don’t follow your eyes, they’ll only deceive you

Walk by faith and you’ll walk by Me

Walk by faith and you’ll walk by Me

Follow mercy, walk in the Way

If then you lose yourself a new life you’ll gain

Follow righteousness, walk in My ways

If then you lose yourself a new life you’ll gain

Original music and lyrics by: Stephen Hare©2009

Landscape with Stream by Andrew Achenbach

Posted in Fine Art with tags , , , on December 21, 2012 by Stephen Hare
"Landscape with Stream"

“Landscape with Stream”

RE: Tragedy in Connecticut

Posted in Articles with tags , on December 19, 2012 by Stephen Hare

Yes, I too was stunned and horrified by yet another outbreak of senseless violence. It took quite a while for it to actually sink in. You hear it, but it’s just too hard to conceive that anyone could be capable of such evil against another human being, let alone his own mother. These tragic “events” are becoming more and more common.

Your question is one that all of us have asked or will ask at one time or another, and while the understanding of God’s love, justice, mercy and judgments against sin are vast and complex topics, I will at least try to share just a few ideas here in the hope that it will lend even a little clarity to these difficult themes. I will only ask that the reader(s) will extend a little grace, bearing in mind that these themes really require a book to cover adequately, and this blog post runs the risk of offending those who fail to understand that this “covering” of the topic can’t be comprehensive enough to satisfactorily answer every question posed by this and similar tragedies.

But really, if God was to stop the gunman, how would He go about it? I mean, what would that actually look like…should He strike him dead in his tracks? Just a question…

I only want to hold up some of my ideas and some supporting passages of scripture for your consideration and contemplation.

That being said;

 

First, where questions related to the character of God are concerned, the reader must decide whether they do or do not believe that the source and inspiration of the bible is God Himself; that the bible is authoritative – the very word of God. i.e., “No prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation, but holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” If you do not, then you have no reason to believe or seriously consider anything that I will share here.

…our adversary Satan hates every living thing and especially all men, women and children who are created in the image of God.”

If you do understand that the bible is God’s prophetic historical record of things past and record of things to come, you realize that all the earth is and has been in a cosmic conflict since the fall of man. Lucifer, who is the devil and Satan (the adversary), who was created perfect in wisdom and beauty led an angelic rebellion against God and His kingdom since iniquity was found in him. The bible doesn’t disclose exactly how sin came to be, only that it exists. And one thing we understand  from the bible; that our adversary Satan hates every living thing and especially all men, women and children who are created in the image of God.

 

So then, violence has been with us from the beginning. Well, since the fall. The first act we see in the scripture after the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden, is Cain killing his brother Abel; because his deeds were righteous. God, knowing Cain’s heart (as He knows the hearts of all people) warned Cain and said, “Sin crouches at the door, but you must master it.” Well, he didn’t master it, but succumbed to it and killed Abel. God did not kill Cain, but said that the blood of Abel cried out to Him from the ground, and pronounced a curse on Cain and his offspring.

I John 5:19 says, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one”.

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

The Fact Is: Some people who are “under the influence of the evil one” choose evil, unthinkable things instead of good, and innocent people have and always will suffer because of the sin of others. How many accounts of genocide or other crimes against humanity can you list?

  • The French and German Holocaust
  • Cambodia
  • Red China
  • Oklahoma
  • 9-11
  • human trafficking resulting in death
  • child molesters
  • incest and rape perpetrated by fathers against their own children
  • Domestic and foreign terrorism

 

The list of atrocities is virtually endless – and depressing.

 

How about the Abortion Industry Holocaust that has been going on for decades now right under our noses, with our current administration pushing for its increase? (Currently, 1.3 million, yes, million unwanted children are being systematically murdered every year in the US alone.)

 

What if He removed his Holy Spirit and all restraints from man and allowed the god of this world (Satan) free rein? How long do you think we’d last?”

 

So, we have looked at some (certainly not all) of those who have suffered because of wicked people, but what about those that God has rescued? How about obvious interventions in your own life? Have you ever faced death and somehow escaped? Psalm 68:20 says that “Our God is the God of salvation, and to God the Lord belong escapes from death.” Can you hear that? He owns every escape from death!

 “but what about those that God has rescued? How about obvious interventions in your own life?”

When I was 19 years old, I hit a tree traveling at 70 mph without a seat-belt. Three of us sustained minor injuries and walked away from a car that looked like a crushed aluminum can. I could share many other times when I could easily have perished at the hand of others with their finger on the trigger literally.

How many people have you heard of or know personally who have had near-death experiences? Ask yourself this question: What if God chose not to be involved at all in the affairs of men? What if He removed his Holy Spirit and all restraints from man and allowed the god of this world (Satan) free rein? How long do you think we’d last? I praise God for His great mercy toward us!

In the midst of suffering and loss, when you don’t understand, do you trust in your own wisdom, or do you turn to Him and trust in the One who made you?”

 

Summary Statement:

 

There are many who hold different opinions about God than I do, but I know Him. He is good, and He has been good to me, my family, and many others I know(as well as millions who know Him that I don’t personally know. He continually reaches out to millions who care nothing about their Creator, even though He died in their place. Figure that one out…

Life and death are far too complex for me to understand, but I do know that God is in control and there has never been a moment that He has not been in control and He is all about fulfilling His purposes in the earth for both time and eternity. He is the One who made me, so I can entrust myself to Him as to a faithful Creator. He died for me, so now I live for Him.

Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones in this recent tragedy in Connecticut (the state where I grew up), and my wife and I have been praying daily that they will turn to the Lord in their grief, and not away from Him (which I believe some are doing).

Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

In the midst of suffering and loss, when you don’t understand, do you trust in your own wisdom, or do you turn to Him and trust in the One who made you?

We all have the same decision to make about our life now, and for eternity to come. How about you?

 

Hope this helps someone, somewhere.

 

Stephen Hare

Unchanging Love

Posted in Lyrics with tags , , , , on December 15, 2012 by Stephen Hare

Unchanging Love

Lord, you know my heart

I know you see the secret part

my thoughts you know as well;

and all the answers, you can tell

Because I know your grace is real

I’ll live by faith – not by what I feel…

I’ll set my mind on things above;

and as I behold your unfailing love,

Lord, I am changed by Your unchanging love

Lord, I love Your ways

You know I’ve sought You many days

I long to follow you

in all you’ve called me to

Because I know your grace is real

I’ll live by faith – not by what I feel…

I’ll set my mind on things above;

and as I behold your unfailing love,

Lord, I am changed by Your unchanging love

changed by Your unchanging love

Posted in Fine Art with tags , , , , , on December 13, 2012 by Stephen Hare

Really, really nice art piece!

Cirsova

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