Tag Archives: Revive

All of This for You

This past Saturday I had the whole day to myself because my son was on a sledding trip with a friend and my husband was working. So I hooked my iPod up to the stereo and put my Christian playlist on shuffle. At one point during the afternoon the song All of This for You by Revive came on. I love this song, and I’ve heard it many times before, but for some reason this time it brought tears of joy to my eyes.

The lyrics of this song are such a precious reminder of how much God loves us; how much He loves me. Even though I am a sinner, He has saved me by His grace.

Then love leant in near
And whispered in my ear

It’s you I’ve come for
It’s you I want more
I’d do anything for you
There’s nothing left to say
Nothing left to prove
I’ve done all there is to do
I do all of this for you

My heart is filled with deeper joy
Than I have ever had
To be fully known
And yet still loved
Nothing I have ever done
Can even compare
To hearing His words fall like a flood

I love how God confirms a message like this one. On Sunday morning, our youth minister Colie gave the sermon. She shared about her mission trip to Ecuador that she just returned from. The core of her message was that God loves us even in our brokeness – not in spite of it, but because of it. Jesus came not to save the righteous, but sinners. It is in our weakness and brokeness that God enters into our lives and heals us.

Jesus bore our sins for us, because He loves us. He did all of this for you and for me.

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Sharing the Love that Found Us

One of my favorite Christian bands is relatively new on the Christian music scene in America, but was playing for Christ for four years in Australia before moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 2008. I first heard them when they opened for Third Day after releasing their Chorus of the Saints CD. They released their second CD, titled Blink, in the U.S. in 2010. One of my favorite songs on that CD is “Love Found Me.”

It is such a wonderful feeling when you find love and are found by the Love of Christ! It really does make you complete.

When you find Love and Love finds you, that Divine Love begins to change you from deep within your heart. Selfishness and pride begin to be rooted out. Humility and concern for others begin to grow.

Revive, as a band, exhibits the changed heart of the believer with their music. But even more, they exhibit that love for others that comes from faith in Christ in how they relate to their fans.

I recently had the opportunity to share in their love for their fans by helping with a video they created specially for their 20,000th Facebook friend. They did a similar video for their 10,000th Facebook friend, but this time they asked other fans (friends) to help. Those who wanted to help were asked to submit a short video of themselves singing the chorus to the song Revive wrote for the 20,000th friend.

It sounded so easy when I sent of the email saying I would participate. But when it came right down to creating the video clip in the .mov format Revive requested I discovered just how technologically challenged I am. My son helped me create the raw video that included several takes with our video camera. But when we tried to cut just the part I wanted to send – the one good take – and convert it to .mov we couldn’t get the file small enough. The initial try was a whopping 166 Mb, way too big to email.

My husband stepped in to help and was able to reduce the resolution on the video and get it down to 42 Mb. My email provider said I could email attachments up to 98 Mb, so I figured we were home free. Not so! The email would not send and I kept getting an error message saying the email was too big.

I was about to give up, but I had said I would participate and I didn’t want to let Revive or the 20,000th friend down. Once again, with my husband’s help, we were able to reduce the file size to 21 Mb and I was able to email it.

Here’s the final video product. You can see my little piece of the project in the top righthand corner towards the end of the video.

Sometimes sharing the love we have found and that has found us comes with obstacles and challenges. In this case, it was technology challenges. But any number of challenges can present themselves as the devil tries to discourage us from sharing the love of Christ. This experience reminded me again that it is important to persevere because there is nothing more important that helping someone else be able to say, “I found love and love found me.”

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In Whom Can We Trust?

I’ve been thinking lately about trust. Dictionary.com defines the noun trust as “reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence; confident expectation of something; hope.” As a verb it is defined as “to have trust or confidence in; rely or depend on; to believe; to expect confidently; hope.”

It is a good quality for a person to be trustworthy. But to be worthy of trust a person must earn that trust. They must have integrity; if they say they will do something, they have to follow through and do it; they must be honest so that their word can be believed. But even once earned trust isn’t permanent because it is easily betrayed. Once lost, it seems it is difficult, if not impossible, to regain trust, whether you are the one who no longer trusts another or are the person who is no  longer trusted.

There is only One who has always been and will always be worthy of trust, and He knew that we humans, at our core, don’t deserve trust.

Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature.  No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like. John 2:23-25 (NLT).

It can be challenging to live in a world where we feel we can’t trust anyone. Everywhere you turn, you find that others can be dishonest and fail to follow through on promises. I’m reminded of the song “Honesty” by Billy Joel. The chorus begins:

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

So where can we turn for someone to trust? To the One who can be trusted to always fulfill His wonderful promises; to the One is whom there is no deceit. During what we now call Holy Week, before the Last Supper and Good Friday, Jesus spoke these words of trust:

Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” John 12:44-50 (NLT).

Are you feeling discouraged because you have been let down or betrayed by someone you once trusted? Are you frustrated by the dishonesty around you? Are you disheartened by the knowledge that you have not been completely trustworthy yourself? Maybe it’s because your trust has been misplaced. As Jesus knew, humans are not trustworthy. But He is! The solution to your misplaced trust is to join Revive and the “Chorus of the Saints” in seeing clearly the One and Only who is worthy of our trust:

We the redeemed are lost again
With misplaced trust and desire to complain
But if only we’d open up our eyes
And see the beauty of our God
Who has never left our side

This is the chorus of the saints singing “Hallelujah! Our God is faithful!”

Our God is faithful and worthy of all our trust. He has proved Himself over and over, and all His promises are true. Place your trust in Him and all will be well in the end.

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The Artistry of God

I often wonder how anyone can look at the natural world around them — at the trees and flowers, the grasses of the field, the variety of birds, fish, and animals, the sun, moon, and stars in the sky — and not see God’s artistry. How can someone think that all of this interconnected and complex world happened by random accident? In short, I do not understand atheists.
 
I can understand agnostics, those who believe there is a creator but that they don’t know who He is and don’t know which religion is correct. There is so much information, and misinformation, about various religions that it can be difficult to find God in all of it. Even within the Christian faith there are different views of God, some of which are not in accordance with the scriptures. 

Pasayten Wilderness

But the person who says there is no creator of this world seems to me to simply be illogical and irrational. The Bible tells us, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1. Thinking of this inspired a short story that I wrote for the blog Idylls for the King that I contribute to. It’s called “The Artist.” Even if a person does no know God, to believe that this world has no creator is akin to believing a painting can come into existence without a painter, or a watch without a watchmaker, or a house without a carpenter, an electrician, a plumber, a carpet layer, and many more.

I recently read a comment on a fellow blogger’s post in which the commenter claimed to have been a Christian for many years, and to know all about the Bible and to have read many Christian books. But now, she wrote, she was an atheist. I almost cried when I read this. It seems though she had gained head knowledge of the scriptures over the years she had not gained a heart knowledge of God Himself. And she had forgotten the wonder of the world He created for us to enjoy and care for.

Since this is Music Monday, I have to admit that part of what got me thinking about this whole topic was a song by Revive, whose music I was listening to a lot last week. This song is called “Something Glorious” and is set to some beautiful photographs of our wonderful world in this video.

So how does someone look at something as glorious and beautiful as a sunset, or the rainforest, or a snow-capped mountain in the distance and not see God? I think maybe it is because they focus too much on the evil in this world and can’t see the good just beyond their view. I’ve often heard the argument that if there was a God, there would not be so much violence, famine, sickness, and pain in the world, because a good and all-powerful God would just fix all the problems. But this argument completely discounts the role humans play in taking care of (or failing to take care of) the wonderful gift God has given us.

Imagine you were given a beautiful watch. The watchmaker tells you that you can’t put it under water or it won’t work as well. He also says it needs to be cleaned every year or it will gather dust that will cause it not to work properly or keep good time. You also know that if you don’t want the watch face scratched you have to be careful when you wear it.

Nonetheless, you wear your watch all the time, even in the shower or when you swim. You live an active lifestyle and you are often hitting your watch against tools or other objects. Last month you went skiing with it on, and when you wiped out you hit it against a rock that was protruding from the snow (thank goodness you didn’t hit your head!). You’ve had the watch for five or six years, but you’ve never had it cleaned. When you put it on this morning you noticed how dingy and banged up it looked, and that it had lost quite a bit of time. In fact, it was barely running.

What do you think at this point? Do you blame the watchmaker for how poorly your watch now runs? No, because it was your lack of care for the watch that led to it running poorly. Do you complain that the watchmaker didn’t come knocking at your door every time you abused the watch and fix your mess, or come insist on cleaning it when you didn’t ask him to? No, it’s your watch and it’s in your care, it’s your  responsibility to take care of it and ask the watchmaker to clean it when necessary. Do you decide that there was no watchmaker in the first place? Of course not, that would be foolish.

So why, then, do some people think that what we have done to this earth and what we as humans do to each other is evidence that there is no God? Why do they expect Him to just come fix everything even when they don’t ask Him to, or even believe that He cares or exists? Such attitudes are things I ponder and do not understand.

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The Best Concert that Almost Was

One thing I’ve learned about this life is that it can be full of alternating excitement and disappointment. The disappointment can be extremely difficult sometimes or it can just be on the level of annoying. This week I experienced just such a roller coaster ride of disappointment then excitement then more disappointment regarding the best concert that almost was, but ultimately wasn’t.

At the beginning of the week, my Facebook account reminded me that I had an upcoming event — the Revive concert in Tacoma that I had marked as “Maybe Attending.” But it was on a Thursday and was a 2 ½ hour drive away. On Wednesday I was feeling disappointed that I couldn’t go. I even wrote a blog post about it and posted a link to it on Revive’s Facebook page.

When I got home from work and was making dinner,  mentioned to my husband how disappointed I was that I couldn’t go, because I knew it would be a great concert. He said, “I’ll take you. I have the day off. It’s only an 2 ½ hour drive.” I was suddenly quite excited and immediately went to my computer to buy tickets. To top it off, the tickets were only $10 each! Imagine that — only $10 to see Revive plus two other bands. I printed my tickets and hung them on the refrigerator so I wouldn’t forget them the next day. Then I changed my Facebook event to “Attending” and posted a comment on Revive’s page saying that I was going to get to go after all (which Revive later “liked” causing me to smile).

I got up Thursday morning with a smile on my face, thinking about how wonderful the concert would be, and about the things I had to do before hand. During my lunch at work, I Google mapped the location and printed directions and a map. I looked up information on the venue, which was Urban Grace Church in Tacoma, and discovered that the auditorium there only holds 850 people. That meant it would be a nice intimate concert. I do like concerts at places like the Memorial Coliseum where there are thousands of people, but concerts in small venues are so much better.

Then at about 1:45 my excitement crashed into disappointment. I checked Revive’s Facebook page to see if they had posted any new comments to fans on their drive over the pass only to find this posted by the band:

Dear friends! We’re sorry to say that our show in Tacomo, WA this evening has been CANCELLED due to circumstances out of our control. We’re so sorry and hope to see you guys again some other time!

So much for leaving work early and having a wonderful evening worshipping the Lord with this awesome band. I commented on this post about how disappointing it was. I was feeling quite down when I went home from work. It ended up being an uneventful evening at home as usual. Bratwurst, hash browns and baked beans for dinner, and some TV, then reading my Wordstrong Bible passage before bed.

Friday morning I woke up, still feeling disappointed, but decided to focus on the positive instead. I decided to remember the blessing of having a wonderful husband who was willing to drive a 5 hour round trip so I could go to this concert, even though he had to get up and go to work on Friday morning. I decided to remember that there will be another opportunity to see this great Christian band. I decided to remember that even though they couldn’t get to this venue, the band members are all okay and the reason was not something that was catastrophic. But most importantly, I decided to remember that no matter what comes my way in this life, Jesus loves me and always will.

Then on Friday evening I checked my Facebook account, and found that Revive had posted this nice reply to my comment on their cancellation notice:

Revive ‎@Linda … we’re disappointed as well.. we’re not sure why people like this but maybe because we tried to update as quickly as possible and I assure you… after reading your blog the night before we had every intention of trying to get the word out especially for the people like you who we knew would be driving all the way in to see the show… we’re equally bummed. Sorry friend. and @Bob… hmmm yeah, our bad… definitely meant Tacoma lol.. cheers everyone

Not only are they great musicians who glorify God with their music, they are nice guys who care about their fans who they consider friends and glorify God in this was as well. I was so touched that they had actually read my blog, but was more touched that they were concerned about making sure their fans received a timely notice of the cancellation. I had also received an email and a voicemail from the ticket company, but I didn’t get those until I got home. The extra step the band took by posting on Facebook made it possible for me to know earlier.

There is a great song on their first album released in the U.S., called “Can’t Change Yesterday.” It is a reminder that we can’t change the past or control the future. There will always be disappointments and pain in life. But if we remember that God is all we know, all we want to know, we can get through today and weather any disappointments that may come our way. I found this great acoustic version of the song that the band played as part of a radio station interview.

And here’s the studio version of the same song, with drums and electric guitar.

I think the remaining disappointment is knowing that, as great a band as Revive is, the next time they come to the Pacific Northwest it very well might be in a large venue. This may have been my last chance to see them in an intimate setting like Urban Grace Church. But maybe not. Time will tell. “Tomorrow is still a mystery that I can’t see,” but no matter what happens God will hold me (and Revive) in the palm of His hand each day. And I will be looking for Revive’s next show near me and will go if I can. If you hear they are playing near you, I highly recommend attending and worshipping the Lord with them if you can.

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God’s Intent for You and Me

I know it’s not Music Monday, but since music is awesome any day, I wanted to share something music related with you all today. Tonight one of my favorite bands — Revive — is playing in Walla Walla, Washington, and tomorrow night they will be in Tacoma, Washington. Oh so close, but just a bit too far for me to be able to attend. I love concerts in general, and Christian concerts in particular, and so I am pretty bummed about the fact that they are so close but I won’t get to see them. On Friday, they will drive right on by Portland on their way to California for their April 2 concert in Paradise, California.

6:45 p.m. update: My sweetie said he’d take me to Tacoma for the concert and I just got my tickets! I will report on it probably on Saturday. I decided not to change the rest of the post, though.

Even though I won’t get to see them in concert this time, I’ve been listening to their music in the car and on my iPod all week. The song in the video below is called “We Were Meant to Be.” It is a wonderful reminder that God did not intend for us to live a life of drudgery without purpose. We were meant for so much more than that.

Revive is from Australia, having come to the United States in 2008. The title of this song reminds me of an old friend, the person who first took me to a Bible study many years ago. She was from Australia, too. She used to say things like, “I was meant to go to the grocery store today.” When I first heard this I thought it was odd because here in the States we would have said either “I intended to go to the grocery store today” or “I was going to go to the grocery store today” or maybe even “I was supposed to go to the grocery store today.” We don’t tend to use the word “meant” in quite the same way as the Australians.

This got me thinking about how that impacts my understanding of this song. As I listen to it, I have to ask myself, “Do I intend to be the person God wants me to be? Am I going to be the person God wants me to be today? Who is it that I am supposed to be today?” Let’s look at the lyrics of the song to help answer these questions:

We were meant to be
A city on a hill
Shine like the stars in the sky
We were meant to live
For more than this world

God’s intent when He created us was for us to be like a city on a hill shining forth His glory and His love to all the world around it. He wants us to live an abundant spiritual life full of love, mercy, and grace. We are supposed to be His children created in the image of our Father in Heaven, who act like the role model Jesus was for us. Do we fully grasp all that we were meant to be? I think I am getting closer, but there is still more change that needs to occur before I am fully all that He intends for me.

Thank you, Revive, for inspiring me to be who I am meant to be.

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Sit with Me

In this season of Lent, I’m feeling a desire to grow closer to God. Last week, one of my fellow bloggers wrote a post about resting in the Lord. Our lives are so busy, it seems it’s hard to just take the time to spend in prayer or reading God’s Word. Each day since Ash Wednesday I have set aside time to read the scripture in my church’s Wordstrong reading schedule for Lent. They are pretty short passages, but still I have found myself at the very end of the day finally sitting down to read the scheduled passage before crawling into bed.

How did life get to hectic and busy that we find it hard to spend time with God? Now, it’s not that I don’t think of Him often throughout the day, and lift up a prayer here and there when I think of it; but it does seem like so many other things are allotted so many more of the 24 hours in each day than I devote solely to God.

My friend’s blog reminded me of the song “Sit with Me” by Revive. This video of it includes an introduction to the meaning behind the song by the members of the band, plus a bonus rendition of “Chorus of the Saints” at the end:

That is what God really wants from us: To set aside our busy lives and just sit at His feet to learn and worship. Even Jesus spent time alone with His Father every day in prayer.

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:15-16 (NIV).

In spite of the throngs who crowded about Him clamoring for healing and teaching, Jesus was always at peace. By His actions, He taught us that communion with God is so important so that the rest of the time we will feel at peace and will not be swept up in the stresses of life. There will always be demands on our time and resources; we can’t ignore our responsibilities and spend every minute at the feet of Jesus. But we can set aside a significant portion of each day to just sit with God so that He may instill His peace and truth in our hearts to be with us when we face the challenges of each day.

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Music Monday Extra – Love Rule Today

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I thought this video would be a nice Music Monday Extra. Dr. King’s dream would be a reality if all the world would follow the advice of this song by Revive and let Love Rule Today.

I tried to insert the video here, but apparently this is one you have to view at YouTube for copyright reasons. Follow the linked song title to watch it.

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A Needlepoint Tapestry

The entirety of human existence from Adam to the end of time is a beautiful needlepoint tapestry. God is the Master Weaver. We might think we are in control of the tapestry, or at least our little corner of it, but we really aren’t.

You and I are but single threads in the tapestry. Our view of the wonderful picture God is creating is limited. We might see only the knots on the back of the tapestry holding a thread in place. We might see a certain thread cut short.

The back side of the tapestry can be quite messy, just as life to us can seem quite messy. The more we try to be in control of the picture, the messier it gets. The more we worry that we can’t see the whole picture, the more stressed we become, and joy is lost.

The Christian band Revive sings a song called “You Know” that illustrates how our planning fits into God’s Grand Design:

I have so many dreams for my life
I’m going this way and that
I’m spending so much time worrying
About how it’s all turning out
 
But You know where I’ve been
And You know where I’m going
‘Cause You see all my plans for what they are
I lay them all down
 
If we trust in the Master Weaver we know that the grand design is more beautiful than we can imagine. Someday He will show it to us. Just thinking of that day makes me smile.

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A Heart Longing for Eternity

This morning I was listening to my Christian music playlist on my iPod while I was getting ready for the day. A song I have only heard a few times came on and at first I didn’t recognize it. It is by the Australian Christian rock band Revive from the recently released CD Blink. It’s called “Welcome to Eternity.” The first verse and chorus are:

Oh we sat around and talked for hours
About our dreams and the future in our power
Oh such fools we were
To ever think that this was it
To think ourselves as permanent
And forget the immanent

And inside the tears rose
As I pray for your soul
Oh what can I say?
To make sure that you believe
On the day you receive
Your welcome to eternity

Before the line “Oh such fools we were” I was crying uncontrollably. My heart was aching and I felt this terrible burden in my soul.

You see, I have several very old friends who don’t know Jesus as their Savior. They know what I believe, but they have chosen a different path. I want to share the joy of my faith with them, I want to know what I can say to make sure they believe when they receive their welcome to eternity, but the words never come. But I do pray for them regularly and earnestly.

God has given all of us freewill, including my friends. In our society today, we are supposed to just let people believe what they want to and not try to “impose our beliefs” on others. But I wonder, if my friends were walking towards a cliff, about to fall off, and I knew it but they had chosen to believe land would continue on across the chasm ahead, wouldn’t I tell them? Wouldn’t I warn them? Wouldn’t I feel it was so urgent that they be saved from this danger that I would call out, “Stop, wait, don’t go that way!”

As a Christian, I feel this same sense of urgency about the direction my non-Christian friends have taken. The older I get, the closer we get to our “welcome to eternity,” the greater the urgency. I grieve over the thought of spending that eternity without some of my best and dearest friends. The time I get to spend with them in this short life is not enough. It’s just not enough.

King Solomon wrote: “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11. Writing before the cross, Solomon went on to say, “So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” Ecclesiastes 3:12-13. This side of the cross, the human heart still longs for eternity. At least I know mine does. And I long for that eternity in the company of all of my friends and family. So I will continue to pray for their souls and perhaps God will give me the right words to share with them.

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