Finish What He Started – Mercy Me

Here’s a great song based on Philippians 1:6

Finish What He Started

Verse 1:
I don’t have to know you
To know that you will go through hard times
It’s just part of life
Don’t let that moment blind you
And don’t let it define you
Take heart, that’s not who you are

Pre-Chorus:
Our God is able, more than capable
And to be faithful until the end
And finish what he started

Chorus:
No matter what you’ve done
Grace comes like a flood
There’s hope to carry on
He’ll finish what he started
No matter what you face
His mercy will not change
He’s with you all the way
He’ll finish what he started

Verse 2:
Remember you’re forgiven
So there’s no need to give
Into the lie, you’re disqualified

Bridge:
This work he started in you now
He is faithful to complete it
The promise was sealed when he cried out
It is finished

Ending:
What he started (What he started)
What he started (What he started)
Oh, He’ll finish what he started

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What Can I Do?

When I find myself in times of trouble – I don’t listen to The Beattles. I listen to Praise and Worship!

What Can I Do? from Paul Baloche and Graham Kendrick is one of my favorites, because it asks (and answers!) the simple question I am usually struggling with in those moments. (Except, of course, I’m not able to see the simplicity until I sing it out a few times…)

What Can I Do?

When I see the beauty of a sunset’s glory
Amazing artistry across the evening sky
When I feel the mystery of a distant galaxy
It awes and humbles me
To be loved by a God so high

What can I do but thank You?
What can I do but give my life to You?
Hallelujah, hallelujah
What can I do but praise You?
Every day make everything I do
A hallelujah, a hallelujah, hallelujah

When I hear the story of a God of mercy
Who shared humanity and suffered by our side
Of the cross they nailed You to
That could not hold You
Now You’re making all things new
By the power of Your risen life

What can I do but thank You?
What can I do but give my life to You?
Hallelujah, hallelujah
What can I do but praise You?
Every day make everything I do
A hallelujah, a hallelujah, hallelujah

What Can I Do? (YouTube)

Obstacles, Then and Now

Obstacles, Then and Now

My 1-year-old grandson is fearless. He toddles headlong towards the stairs – with no knowledge of how to go down them. Watching him, it occurs to me that we humans learn fear as part of growing up.

We learn to fear many different kinds of things. Some of these are physically painful like lions and tigers and bears, flames, and running with scissors. Some leave emotional scars like rejection, being lost and alone, not being loved. Some are are just really, really scary like failure and the unknown.

At first, we learn from first-hand experience, but then we cleverly get to seeing what others go through and can transfer ourselves into their shoes. Perhaps this is one of the marks of maturity: a sense of Rational Deductive Cautiousness.

But as with everything I do, I found the danger in the extremes. I tend to get obsessive. And, in my past, this led to the strangest fear of all: the fear – not of failure, for I was overly comfortable with that – but of success.

Is this the hardest of all fears to find? Perhaps. It certainly takes the longest time to develop. This is because it is the result of conditioning – a seeming lifetime of negativity. I arrived at a point where I expected misery and loss, and therefore kept minimal expectations.

And I even put obstacles in my own path. I self-sabotaged, self-condemned any attempt before it even began.

I discern two reasons for this happening. First, the root cause of fear of success is the idea – what I thoughtknew – that I was not worthy of succeeding. I did not deserve it. Feeling unloveable went hand in hand with that.

Another long-term effect of being afraid of any happy ending is that I just “got used to less.” Success became a strange and foreign thing, something completely different, unfamiliar and potentially uncomfortable (or so I thought).

“What do you fear, my lady?”
“A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them
and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.”
LotR

The solution, which I continue to discover in my journey of healing and transformation, is
#1: accepting The Maker’s love for me. “For He so loved the world...” He created me. He knows my name, and everything about me. And this is a very good thing!

#2: Quite plainly, the evidence of my life backs this up. I remain alive – for something good. I am clearly blessed – in spite of all the material things I lack.

#3: My fear is the result of leaning on my own understanding and abilities, instead of trusting in the Lord with all my heart (Proverbs 3:5)

#4: 1 Corinthians 10:13:

…He will also provide a way out…

I’m guided to that way out by ‘landmarks’ carefully placed in my everyday routine. These are obstacles – not to my success, but the means of blocking my falling and failure. That was then. This is now.

In valor there is hope.
– Tacitus

In other words, these days I work to put obstacles in the way of relapse, to prevent old habits and patterns from returning. These are things that I would very consciously have to step around in order to do ____. Their presence gives me pause, a chance to think carefully about what I am thinking about doing. I have a moment “to test and approve what God’s will is” (Romans 12:2)

And, sometimes, these days, I am “strong and courageous… not afraid or terrified… and I know God is with me… will not fail or forsake me” (Deuteronomy 31:6, 1 Chronicles 28:20) and I can pray, repent, turn back to Him.

Obstacles to relapse will be different for everyone. Here are some examples of mine:

– we keep no alcohol in our house
– in the early days of recovery, I changed my driving routes to avoid old haunts
– computer monitoring apps/software keep me away from tempting sites
– I deleted all RPG video games
– I cleaned house of adult entertainments and toys

And, what I call OMKIP: On My Knees In Prayer.

As I’ve recently written about, nightly I get on my knees in prayer, thanking God for His blessings and mercy, and begging His protection from thoughts, visions, dreams, fantasies, and memories which would entice me away from how I offer my body as a living sacrifice, whole, holy and pleasing to Him. (Romans 12:1)

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, STAND FIRM.
Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves FULLY to the work of the Lord,
because you know that your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58