Monday, July 16, 2018

Eternity Amnesia

In the preface to his book, Forever: Why You Can't Live Without It, Paul David Tripp writes:

"It became increasingly clear that many of the people I counseled were struggling because there was a critical element in their story that they either never knew or had completely forgotten. And it wasn't too long after reaching this conclusion that I began to admit to myself that I was more like the people I counseled than unlike them.

"Like them, I often lived as an eternity amnesiac (emphasis mine). I, too, often lived with the unrealistic expectations and functional hopelessness that always results when you tell yourself that this life you have right here, right now, is all there is. I was confronted with the fact that in very significant ways, at street level, we don't always live in a way consistent with what we confess to believe.

"The story of the Bible doesn't end with this world that we are all living in right now. What would seem like the last chapter, death, really isn't the last chapter in God's story. The Bible welcomes and requires you to face the inescapable reality of life after death. This present life is not all there is. There is a forever on the other side of this life. Eternity is not a mystical creation of overly spiritual people. Forever is a reality. It is the product of God's plan and design. And once you believe in forever and live with forever in view, not only will you understand things you have never understood before, but you will live in a radically different way than you did before."

Candy's thoughts: I'm certainly not a doctor, but it seems to me like eternity amnesia is a very serious condition, one that needs constant monitoring. It also sounds like it might very well be a contagious infection. If we surround ourselves with others suffering from this disease, I'm guessing we'll soon be exhibiting the same symptoms. What to do? I know that this book, which has been on my shelf for about seven years, is about to be thoroughly and carefully read and shared with all of you in hopes that together we can be free of this diagnosis. Having read many of this author's other books, I'm sure that he will have just the right treatment plan to get us back to where we should be -  living joyfully with an eternal perspective.


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hymns and Tears

Anyone who has been in worship with me undoubtedly has witnessed the power of hymns to make me cry. While I no longer have to leave the service two or three times each Sunday in order to regain my composure, I still struggle with tears every week. While spoken prayers, Scripture readings, and sermon illustrations have on occasion caused me to weep, the main culprit remains music. I have thought much about this experience and have tried to determine why this is so. I believe the answer is both simple and complex.

Many people who have suffered a loss of some kind (such as death of loved one, financial ruin, broken relationship, etc) face frequent battles with their own emotions. What stirs within us is sorrow, fear, anger, confusion, regret. The best musical offerings touch upon all these feelings, but remind us that God is in control of all the events that cause them. “Whate’er my God Ordains is Right”

We know we can never go back to what once was, and we are not content with the present, so the only solution is to move forward. Good hymns speak of the past, the present, and the future. “Amazing Grace”

Those of us struggling with sorrow wish that disappointment, grief, and fear would disappear. “Be Still, My Soul”

We long to have the perspective of God, that we may see all of our lives, even the difficult seasons, through God’s eyes and not our own. “Be Thou My Vision”

We need to know that though we long for Heaven more than ever before, we are still called to persevere on this present Earth for a while longer. “This is My Father’s World”

We want to be reminded that when we feel abandoned by God, we only need to look to the cross to see that Christ understands even this emotion of ours. By His work He has secured our eternal condition, so that we will never be ultimately forgotten. “O Sacred Head Now Wounded”

We desire that we would be well again, that we could accept the “new normal” of our lives, and that we might feel the joy that others experience. “It Is Well With My Soul”

SO – all this brings us back to the question at hand: why do these hymns bring tears to my eyes? I think it’s because good hymns are both simple and complex. They reveal to us the simplicity of God’s love for us. I have often wanted during this season of grief to be reassured, even as a child, that “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.” At other times I need to be confronted and comforted by the complexity of God's providences as demonstrated by songs such as “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise.”

As always, God meets me in my greatest need every Sunday morning, and speaks to me through heart-breaking and heart-mending music.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Harvesting Fruit

"Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate."(Dan. 9:17)

Keddie's thoughts: "True prayer appeals to the glory of God's name. You will have noticed that the recurring argument is not "save us for our own sakes," but, rather, save us for "Your own sake" - i.e., for God's righteousness, compassion, reputation, and glory! Our sins, sad to say, inevitably give "great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme" (2 Sam. 12:14), whereas genuine godliness is a winsome witness to the world. This is why Jesus says to us: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matt: 5:16). Ask yourself constantly whether your thoughts, words, and deeds will cause others to glorify your Savior God. Christians! You are God's ambassadors and your whole carriage and behavior will therefore either enhance or diminish the name of God before the world."

Candy's thoughts: Keddie's reflection on this passage in Daniel is a sobering one. Which of us can say "Yep - that's me - always enhancing the name of God before the world!" It seems that as Christians we need to pray Gal: 5:22-23 constantly: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." A harvesting of those virtues would go a long way toward glorifying God and bringing contentment and less strife into our own lives.

From Prayers of the Bible: 366 Devotionals To Encourage Your Prayer Life

Friday, July 6, 2018

How God Sometimes Answers Prayers in Ways We Would Not Have Expected

"I Asked the Lord that I Might Grow" has been one of my favorite songs in the last few years. It is a John Newton hymn written at a very difficult time in his life. The tune here is different from the one in our new EPC hymnal, but the words remain the same - both convicting and riveting.

The entire album by Indelible Grace is free to stream on Amazon if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, or available on iTunes, or as a CD. I can't recommend this music enough. I LOVE every single song and will slowly be posting each one here on CandyceLand.

P.S. In case you can't see the above links, just click on the purple words 'hymn' and 'entire album.'

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Prayer of Consummate Freedom

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal: 5:1)

A Fourth of July prayer by Scotty Smith:

"Dear Jesus, it's the Fourth of July - a holiday set aside to remember and revel in the freedom we enjoy as citizens of America. I thank you for our country, as broken as she is, and for the liberties and privileges I have as a citizen of the United States.

But that for which I'm most grateful as I think of the Fourth is the consummate freedom I enjoy as a citizen of heaven - as a member of  the "chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

To be set free by you, Jesus, is to be free indeed (John 8:36). I will certainly enjoy the pageantry, food, and fun of the Fourth of July this week. But I will resolutely stand firm, for the rest of my life, in the freedom for which you have set us free.

I praise you, Jesus, that I am free from the guilt of my sin, for you took my place on the cross, exhausting the judgment I deserve. I praise you for freedom over the power of sin, for you have broken its dominion in my life. I praise you for the freedom from the fear of death, for you removed its sting and robbed the grave of its victory.

I praise you that I can now obey God from my heart, and not out of pride, pragmatics, or pretense. I praise you for the freedom to come boldly to the throne of grace, into the very Holy of Holies, for you have secured this "new and living way" for us. I praise you for the freedom of repentance, for you have borne my shame and I don't have to pretend or pose anymore. I praise you for the freedom to risk, instead of rusting the rest of my life, for life is no longer about performance but about your praise.

Jesus, by the power of the gospel, I will seek to stand firm in these and many more freedoms you've won for us, and I will seek to resist all slaveries until the day you return to finish this magnificent "liberation suite." Hallelujah, what a Savior you are! Hallelujah, what a salvation you freely give us! I pray in your liberating and lovely name. Amen."

From Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

God's Mysterious Answers to Prayer

"Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."  (Mark 14:36)

Vaneetha's thoughts: "Should we pray for healing and deliverance, believing that we just need to ask because God can do anything? Or should we relinquish our desires to God, trusting that even in our anguish he has the perfect plan for us? When life falls apart, God invites us to do both. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced unimaginable suffering. Sweating drops of blood, he fell to the ground and prayed: 'Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.'  Jesus, in his agony, is teaching us by example how to pray when we're desperate.  Jesus relinquishes his will to God's. When denied his desire, Jesus accepts the decision completely.

The Father said no to the Son. And that 'no' brought about the greatest good in all of history. God is not capricious. If he says no to our requests, he has a reason - perhaps ten thousand. We may never know the reasons in this life, but one day we'll see them. For now, we must trust that his refusals are always his mercies to us."

Candy's thoughts: I wonder how many times in my life a 'no' from God resulted in something far better than I could have asked for or imagined?  Perhaps this is the beauty of journaling - keeping a record of prayer requests and then remembering to follow up with an update and a reflection on God's better answer to our entreaties. If only I could constantly remind myself that "his refusals are always his mercies to us." Such a profound thought and encouragement to us in the midst of tragedy and despair.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Subscribe or Not Subscribe, That Is The Question


Hi friends,

I just accidentally found something interesting that I never knew existed within the settings for this blog - a way for readers to receive an email whenever a new post is published here on CandyceLand. If you'd like to get this notification, either comment here or call me on the phone or send me an email (candymagee@gmail.com) or text or tell me in person or message me on Facebook.  Phew!  That's a lot of options.  :)

I guess the benefit to this is that since I don't post every day, you won't have to keep clicking to see when I do.  haha

Blessings,
Candy