Wednesday, September 26, 2012


What does it mean to be forgiven?  Can we just say "I'm sorry" and be done with it?  Do we deserve to be able to say "I'm sorry"?  What does it mean to you when someone asks you to forgive them after they've wronged you in some way?  Is it easy?  Can you really forgive, forget, and move on?  It's not easy to forgive or to give forgiveness, and for a lot of us, it's not as easy as we think to actually be forgiven.  To be absolved of whatever wrongs we have committed is pretty hard - not because God doesn't forgive us, but because we don't always forgive ourselves.  We don't always think we're worth it.  That little pang of guilt hits when something reminds you of your wrongdoings. 

What we need to realize is that we can be forgiven, NO.MATTER.WHAT.  Now- it doesn't mean I'm going to go out, steal a few shirts or drink just to get drunk, and say, "Oops, I'm sorry, Lord, forgive me," be forgiven, and go through the whole routine again the next weekend... You have to really and truly mean it in your heart, and only God knows when you're there.  What we need to remember is that, when God forgives us, we also need to ask Him for the grace to forgive ourselves. 

I'd like to share a song with you - of course *grin* - called "You Love Me Anyway", from Sidewalk Prophets' album Three Simple Truths.  I encourage you to read the lyrics a few times before listening to the song, that way you really do hear them.  Unconditional Love.  Forgiveness.  Putting all of our sins aside, God loves us anyway.  The bridge is what really gets me, where the song talks about how we are every person who did Jesus wrong, and yet we are still loved.  We betrayed Jesus in Judas' kiss, we shouted & chanted for His blood to be spilled, we are sin, and God still loves us.  Even when we choose the easy way out, even when we tell that little white lie, even when we have hurt one another... God gives us the grace to be forgiven, the opportunity to love Him back, and in choosing to do that, we forgive ourselves. 

"You Love Me Anyway" ~ Sidewalk Prophets

The question was raised
As my conscience fell
A silly, little lie
It didn’t mean much
But it lingers still
In the corners of my mind

Still you call me to walk
On the edge of this world
To spread my dreams and fly
But the future’s so far
My heart is so frail
I think I’d rather stay inside

But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
How You love me

It took more than my strength
To simply be still
To seek but never find
All the reasons we change
The reasons I doubt
And why do loved ones have to die?

But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me

I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway

See now, I am the man that called out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then, I turned away with this smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life

But You love me anyway
Oh, God… how you love me
You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me

You love me, You love me
You love me, You love me

How You love me
How You love me
How You love me

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Different Point of View

This last weekend I did a vocal workshop that was absolutely amazing.  It was called Come Sing With Us, held at Kent Nazarene Church, and I'll tell you what.... LOVED IT.  For many reasons.  First, because I got to see a good buddy from high school & his wife.  He'd been asking me to come to their church for a while, especially when they have their music-related events, and it had never worked out before, but this time I made sure it did.  Yay!  Second, I LOVE GOSPEL MUSIC.  Love it!  Worshiping God, lifting your voice in song, and adding that wonderful element that IS gospel music.... *happy sigh*

While learning one of the songs, I think I witnessed what I can only describe as someone else's Soul Cry (link to a post that somewhat-explains these).... The person leading the workshop was talking about how he envisioned choirs of angels in awe as we were singing, and the look on his face.... I knew that look.... He was seeing the Kingdom of Heaven, and described it for us.  Then he started talking about how we need to remember that - through the hard times, the pain & suffering, this earth is not our home, that Home is in the Kingdom, with God.... Part of me wanted to approach him afterwards, to talk to him, see if he really does experience the Gifts of the Spirit like I do, because it's so intense, and so rare, and I would love to have someone to share this with!  Part of me wanted to run-n-hide, incase it was "contageous", because I've been dealing a lot with my own health issues & didn't, and don't have the emotional/spiritual/physical strength to allow a Holy Spirit-take over. 

So what did I do?  I got up & left the sanctuary, and cried.  It was a selfish cry, a self-pity cry, but I needed to do it.  I was bummed that I didn't get to hear the rest of the testimony, but I'm hoping that a conversation in the future might happen.  His words got me thinking about Carly's suicide and what her pastor said at her funeral; it got me thinking about my current heart condition and the struggles it's posing as a potentially chronic, potentially incurable condition; it was just too much....

We don't have to be strong, but we need to find strength.  It's okay to not be able to hold it all together, but know that God will help keep us going.  Seeing someone else's faith - Faith - manifested in a vision of Heaven helped me to feel like God's with me, that I'm not alone... seeing a Soul Cry from the outside definitely gave me a new perspective.

Friday, September 14, 2012

You Move Me

This is a song I've been listening to on repeat one for... oh.... a week?!  I absolutely love it.  It's been rather inspiring as I'm trying to come up with some ideas for the youth group, and I just had to share it with you.  Another gem by the late Carly Henley

Like the bird in sync with me as I drive
Soaring, dashing, flying by
You make me, you make me free

Like the swaying trees with the breeze
Moving oh so effortlessly
You move me, you move my soul

How do you love so much,
So close I can feel your touch,
It’s just the things you do,
You really see me through…

Like the colorful sunset
With all the beauty this earth can get
You paint my, you paint my world

Like my dancing shadow
Anywhere it wants to go
You’re always, always with me

How do you love so much
So close I can feel your touch
It’s just the things you do
You really see me through

Thank you, thank you for all you do.
It’s evident your love is true.
Thank you, thank you for all you give,
You make my life so great to live.

How do you love so much
So close I can feel your touch
It’s just the things you do
You really see me through, see me through…

Carly, rest in peace.


Dear Readers,

We have hit 2000 views! 

This week, you're reading from United States, Ukraine, Russia, & Germany, but our fellowship actually encompasses 10 different countries!!  It's such a wonderful example of how the Holy Spirit brings us together.

Be seeing you soon...

Peace be with you,
Melinda <><

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Last Words

If you knew the last thing you said to someone was going to be the last thing you said to them, would you still say it?

That is the question I posed on facebook the other day after a suicide, again, touched my life.  Life is so short, so precious, and we never know the impact that our actions/inactions, how our voice/silence may have on someone’s decisions, someone’s life.

Many times we see snippets in the media about this person tweeting something, that person posted about (insert controversial opinion) and is now retracting the statement and apologizing for how their words hurt and/or insulted someone. So why do we even say it?  It's not like "I'm sorry." will take away the pain we've caused.... Sure, it may make it easier for us to sleep better at night knowing we retracted our offensive statement or apologize for our obnoxious behavior, but it doesn't erase the memories or the pain that our words, our actions caused.  Why do we feel justified in putting it out there in voice, in print? What ever happened to the good ol’ cliché phrase “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

1 Peter 3:8 (NIV) says “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”

To be like-minded: agreeing in opinions, goals; compatible, harmonious, of one mind
Sympathetic: feeling/showing sympathy, understanding (see Sympathy)
Sympathy: the act or power of sharing the feelings of another, compassion
Love: to have a deep tender, ineffable feeling of affection toward a person
Compassion: deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it
Humble: meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, spirit; not arrogant or prideful

So, how does following what Peter tells us have anything to do with speaking out against someone?  How does it justify telling someone that their life-choices will land them in Hell, and how does it make it any better to try to apologize (on FB no less) after they've already died?  We don't have the right to treat anyone with anything less than compassion, sympathy, love... in following Jesus' footsteps, we are called to walk in humility, to love, not to judge. 

Think before you speak.  Take a deep breath, count to ten, and really, really ask yourself if it's worth it.  Think about who else is around you, who else is reading your tweets, fb posts, and blogs...