Be Thou My Vision

Over the past two years I have been blessed to be able to serve on HeartSong. The experiences I have had with this ministry have shaped my life and walk with Christ. One lesson that I have been learning for the past two years has been what it means to be truly satisfied in Christ. I have been constantly reminded of this lesson because of the song “Be Thou my Vision.” I have thought through the lyrics of this song and my emotional response has been different many times. Sometimes I am in awe when I think about how God has been faithful to be everything that he is described to be in this song while at other times I am completely convicted of my sin and laziness in not being the person that I am called to be by Scripture. This song reminds me of how I should be living my life. How I should be choosing to make God absolutely everything. In reality nothing else will satisfy apart from Christ. No amount of money, fame, or love will ever be able to compare with the immeasurable grace and love that comes from God, my heavenly Father.

So what does this have to do with summer tour on HeartSong? Lots actually. As I reflect on the verses and chorus of “Be Thou my Vision,” I find that they coincide perfectly with my summer tour experiences.

Be Thou my Vision oh Lord of my heart

Not be all else to me save that Thou art

Though my best thought by day or by night

Waking or sleeping Thy presence my Light

This summer I have had to trust God to be my vision. In my previous blog I wrote about breaking my toe after the first week of camp and as a result I was not allowed to be physically active. This was not in my vision for the summer, however it was in God’s. Because I was not allowed to move I got to sit and talk with students all day. I didn’t have to be running around to be talking about Christ. I could be still and God was there.

Be thou my Wisdom and Thou my True Word

I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord

Thou my Great Father and I Thy true son

Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

One of the sweetest parts of this summer were the times I was able to dwell deeply with the Lord. One of those times occurred at Seneca Lake. It was a place where the peace of God was extremely evident. Right outside my room was a beautiful lake. Every morning I would get up early and sit in the stillness and listen for the voice of God. This time of sweet communion with my Lord was the force that kept my energy up. Because of the time I spent with God in the morning the passages I was reading came to my mind over and over again throughout the day and the conversations I had with students were very sweet.

Riches I heed not nor man’s empty praise

Thou mine inheritance now and always

Thou and Thou only be first in my heart

High King of heaven my treasure Thou art

For the last three weeks of tour my team was at Harvey Cedars, which is a camp on the beach in New Jersey. For the last two weeks of camp I hung out with one church. The first week was the high school students and the second week was the middle school students. It was an awesome two weeks of ministry. The first week one of the girls from this youth group named Rebecca came up to me and introduced herself. Right away I knew that this was the girl that God had put in my path to talk with that week. She immediately expressed her desire to be genuine and open with me even though she felt that the church has lost its genuineness. So each day we would go to the beach and talk about our lives. She would ask questions about the Bible and we would talk about Christ. On the last evening of camp her youth group went to the beach and I sat with Rebecca and her small group and they shared prayer requests and I got to pray over the girls. The brokenness and restoration that God was working in the lives of the girls was beautiful to see. It was evident that those girls needed Christ and the wonderful part was that they were finding him.

High King of heaven my victory won

May I reach heavens joys oh bright heavens sun

Heart of my own heart whatever befall

Still be my Vision oh Ruler of all

This past Sunday as my team led worship together for the last time, we sang “Be Thou my Vision.” When we came to this final verse the only thing I could think about was how someday I will be in heaven with the bride of Christ and we will be singing together. As I looked out into the congregation I saw that there was a blind man sitting in the back of the church and I watched as he sang the lyrics to this song from his heart. As I watched I thought about how right now we cannot see heaven, we cannot see Christ, and we cannot see our future. All we can see is what God reveals to us and all we can do is ask God to be our eyes and lead us where he wants us to go. When I saw the blind man singing the last line of this verse I broke down. I realized that even though that man could not physically see, that through Christ one day in heaven he would. In heaven all of the pain and brokenness will be gone and Christ will be our satisfaction and peace. But until that day we have to trust God to be our vision, wisdom, truth, treasure, and King.

Still be my Vision oh Ruler of all…

 

 

In Control

This past week God has overwhelmed me with the fact that he is in control. In the mornings I am reminded that God kept me breathing during the night and that as I get up he is sustaining my feeble body. During the afternoon when I am talking with students I am reminded that God created voices so we could communicate with one another. In the evenings and I am leading worship for students I remember that God has given me a voice to sing and praise him with. It is a simple thing to say that God is powerful and in control but it is a completely different thing to actually believe that and live like it is true.

So what does it mean to live a life that displays that God is in control of your life? Your life should be marked with humility and obedience. God has been teaching me how to be more humble. As a human it is easy to let my sin nature tempt me to be prideful, to think that my way and my ideas are better than God’s. As a Christian, however, the Holy Spirit is alive and active in my heart guiding me to remember that since the blood of Jesus has washed me I am a new creation. I no longer have to bow to the weight of sin; instead I am free to bow before throne of Christ. That is the most incredible gift I have ever received and accepted. I cannot ignore that in order for me to be saved, God had to orchestrate everything that has happened leading up to my life. He had to create the world, the people, send his son to die to atone for sin, I had to be born, I had to hear the gospel, and I had to believe it. Those are only the basics of how I came to salvation but those facts alone reveal to me the incredible power of God. If I knew nothing else about God that would be enough information for me to believe that he has the ability to be in control.

So as I continue on in my walk with the Lord I continue to learn to trust that God is in control of everything. I read this encouragement in the Psalms this past week.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee form your presence?

God knows everything about me and he is with me. He goes before me, behind me, and he is the one who saves. Praise God! He is sovereign. He is God.

 

Reign In Us

Yesterday was the day that Reign In Us was released. In chapel at Cedarville yesterday the student body worshiped with us as we sang some of the songs from the new album. Last night we met together as a HeartSong family and listened to the entire album and enjoyed the finished product of many long hours in the studio and prayer.

After experiencing the album and this past year all I can say is that God is incredible. There are not enough words that I could write that could describe what God has done. This semester has been a rough one. There have been many stressful situations and my only option has been to lean on God, to trust Him. I have been learning a lot about what it means to fully surrender my life to Christ. This is definitely something easier said than done. It is hard to let go of what I want. It is hard to give God control over my life. It is hard. So why have I decided to let Christ reign in my heart?

Over two thousand years ago God sent his only son to earth as a baby, his name was Jesus. He was born of a virgin. He was fully man and fully God. He lived a sinless life and was completely perfect. He was despised and hated by men. He was tortured and killed. When he was nailed to the cross. He died. He was the perfect sacrifice that God required.

If the story ended there I would have no reason to follow Christ. But the story doesn’t stop there. Jesus died, but when he died the curtain in the temple that separated us from God was torn in two. He was put in a tomb and a stone sealed him in. Three days after he was put in the tomb, Jesus rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven. He is sitting at the right hand of God. He is coming again, soon.

This is not just a story. It is a real. This is the history of the God that I serve. This is the story of the God I follow. This is the God that I choose to surrender my life to. When God sent Jesus to the world, he sent salvation to those who believe. God sacrificed his only son, so that he could have me in his family. It is hard to give up something that you love. Can you imagine what it would be like to give up your only child? Can you imagine what it would be like to give up what you treasure most so that a dirty, ugly, sinner could be saved? My God did that for me. How can I not follow him? God gave up what he treasured so that he could turn my ugliness into something beautiful. He desires to transform your life. Will you give him your life and heart? Will you surrender?

This is the conclusion that I have come to. God is worth everything I have and I will surrender my life to him every day and I will choose to have him reign in my heart. Will you let him reign in yours?

The Revealed Invisible

This past weekend my team and I had the wonderful opportunity to minister at Lake Ann Camp. If you have ever been in Northern Michigan in the winter you know that you are basically in Narnia. It is beautiful. As I walked around the camp I was amazed at the beauty of God. What a creative, wonderful, stunning God; however, he is invisible. How can we possibly know this God if we can never see him?

As we went through the weekend, the speaker talked about the invisibility of God. As I listened I was reminded of Romans 1:20, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Just take a minute and let that verse soak in.

God is invisible but has made himself known in his creation so that, we, those who were created, will be without excuse in knowing who he is.

When I meditated on that verse this weekend I was completely blown away by God and his means of letting us find out who he is. At times in my walk with the Lord I have found myself looking for God, especially in the hard situations. I ask where he is and I turn to his word and to prayer to find him.

As I reflected on God and his invisible qualities I began to realize how I see God every day. Even though God cannot be seen in human form I see him everywhere. At Lake Ann I saw God in many ways, but mainly in the snow. He was creative in making each snowflake different and he was powerful in making the weather cold enough to make the snow and to keep it on the ground. But most importantly I saw him as a forgiving, compassionate, loving Father. As I looked at the huge mounds of snow all I could think of was that God in his infinite and wonderful love has not only brought me into his family, made me his daughter, and given me the Holy Spirit, but he has forgiven me and when he looks at me, he no longer sees the ugly stains left by my sin, he only sees the pure, clean, satisfying, snow-like quality of Christ’s blood. Praise the Lord!

Even though we cannot see him and even though it seems like God is not there, he is always with us. There is nothing we can do separate ourselves from the love of God. He is the revealed invisible. He is the I AM. He is God.

He is Faithful

When the mystery of Christ is finally revealed and new brothers and sisters become children of God that is a beautiful affair to witness. Have you ever heard angels rejoice? Even though I couldn’t hear the angels rejoicing but I know they were very loud Saturday night.

Let me back up to a few weeks ago when I first heard about the youth group we were going to minister to at Skyview Ranch. I was told that the youth group had been encouraged to invite their unsaved friends to come on retreat. Right away I started praying for the teens that were going to be at the retreat. I knew that God was going to bring unbelievers and I started praying for their salvation. So we got to camp and set up our equipment and waited for the students to arrive. I was starting to get really excited because I knew that God was going to do something huge only God can do.

When the students arrived we had our first session and then I got to meet the girls in my cabin. As I got to know them I found out they were saved, but I was excited to see how God was going to work in their hearts. On Saturday I stayed with my cabin the whole day. We got to play tons of carpet ball and experience high ropes and then to end paint ball. We had a blast and as the day progressed I got more and more excited for the evening session. I knew that the speaker was going to present the gospel and I was ready to see God show his glory.

As we prepared for the evening session, we finished our sound check and we started praying for the students. I knew that there were at least 50 guests at retreat who might not be saved and we asked God to open their eyes to the salvation being held out to them by Christ. So the session started and the speaker presented the gospel by telling the story of Calvary in detail. Even as a believer, hearing what happened to Christ brought me to tears. He suffered so greatly for a crime he did not commit. Then hearing that after everything Jesus endured, that He loves us, how could you not want to follow the One who gave up His life for you? Remember now the many unsaved students that were in attendance. After the speaker finished telling the story of Christ he asked the students to accept Christ and then he asked them to stand. As I watched person after person stand I could do nothing but cry. Right in front of my eyes God had answered my prayer. Many students came to Christ that night and many others were reminded what it means to live for Christ. It was amazing to witness that mini revival. God proved faithful and saved the lost.

After all we could do was praise God. The youth pastor asked the students who had been changed by God that night to come to the front to sing and the entirety of the group stood up and came to the front. The following worship time consisted of the loudest singing I have ever heard from a group of students. It was beautiful.

Like I said earlier the angels were rejoicing because as it says in Luke 15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” There was much rejoicing for the new believers. Be encouraged, God is faithful.