Category Archives: Perseverance

My Faith is Weary but You are Strong!

In the trial, I ask God “Why?
Are You so silent while I cry
You see I’m shaky to the core
And certain that I can’t take more.”

“I know that what I want is good
I know You can – if You just would
I know You see my heart’s desire
And that I’m scared and that I’m tired. “

As I pray here on my knees
For the thousandth time I state my need
You are God and You did say
That help will come to those that wait.

You told us Lord, to not forget
Your benefits and all Your good
They satisfy and save our lives
They turn our darkness into light.

But here I sit in quiet dread
That this may not be over yet
I cannot conjure up the faith
To face this thing, for one more day.

So now it’s only up to You
To lift me up and make me new
For all my human strength is gone
My faith is weary; But You are strong.

O fill me with Your Holy Spirit
That I might rise renewed and fearless
I bind the lies that Satan whispers
That say “Give up, drown in this river”

I bind depression, dismay, and fear
I loose the truth that my God cares
I loose new faith, joy, and peace
His mighty victory, I now release!

Your ways are higher than I can know
Human values are not Your goal
You push me on to bigger faith
You use the trial to change my ways.

You want surrender, You want my trust
That You are God and I am not
So I will bloom here in the dark
Knowing Your plans will change my heart.

O Lord I lift Your name up high
O be my strength and fix my eyes
Only on You so I might stand
And hear the words, “My child, well done!”

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Emmanuel Forever (Emmanuel – God with us)

O child of the most high king why do your hands hang limp;
Why is your heart so downcast; Your stance, weary and bent.
O lift your head and fix your eyes on God the one true Savior;
For He brings restoration and he’ll bring you new favor.
He knows that you’ve had sorrow and that there’s shame and pain;
He knows you’re disappointed but He is still the King.
He loves you more than you can know; He feels your hurt and pain;
But He allows the fire to cleanse and set us free.
He told us there’d be trouble but He will turn it ‘round,
If we’ll submit our rights and ways, to Him who wears the crown.
In submission we release God’s awesome, mighty power,
And rest and hope will fill our souls and we will grow and flower.
He has a plan O little one, so rise up from the ashes,
And fear not as you walk this out for He is true compassion.
Let God go forth in justice, let Him make all things right,
For He sees the big picture and He is truth and light.
O child, trust in Him alone, the Alpha and Omega,
The King of Kings, Almighty God; Emmanuel forever!

 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

The Hidden Path

I cannot see the future Lord… but clearly I see You.
Right now the future seems unsure; I don’t know what to do.
What if things go terribly wrong and my hopes fall apart;
You’ve never failed me yet O God, so I won’t be alarmed.

My God who reaches down to save when in the waves I sink;
The One who loves me all the time, even when I’m weak.
My hope when fear is all I feel; My eyes when I can’t see.
This God of mercy, truth, and grace, He always walks with me.

I want to know what lies ahead; but God wants me to rest,
His spirit washes over me and brings peace in this test,
Even though the path is steep and hidden in the storm;
My Redeemer will not fail; these mountains I will charge!

O Sovereign God so full of grace; Please take my hand today,
Lead me, guide me safely home; I feel lost in a maze.
I lean on You my Savior King; the one who knows my name,
The one who knows my hidden dreams; Your praise I will proclaim!

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Praise His Name!

He stood there staring out to sea
In a dark storm, out on the beach
The salt was thick as he breathed deep
And then exhaled all of his grief
He felt just like that rocky beach
Pounded and pummeled; dark and bleak
He wanted to be free from stress
His hands hung limp; he longed for rest
He said “O God where is your promise
To hear my prayer, to change my problems
For You know that I am depressed
And I am weary from this mess
I’ve prayed and sought You for the answer
I need You God to be my anchor
How does destruction bless Your name
And how does failure give You praise?”

He stood there silent and then he kneeled
And there he waited to know God’s will
And in the silence God took the stage
And said “Let go and praise My name
Fix not your eyes on crashing waves
Fix them on me, the God that saves
I’m with you when life falls apart
So praise and worship with all your heart
For when you do, you give control
To me, your maker; Father, Lord!”

In his weakness he sang and praised
He started quiet but gained in strength
He worshiped God which fanned faith’s flame
He raised his hands; he blessed God’s name
“LORD, You are good; the beginning and end
You rule the heavens by the power of Your hand
You made this world; You’re in control
No one can fathom my awesome Lord
Your mercy’s higher than the heavens
Your love is deeper than the ocean
Your grace is endless when I falter
I bow in worship before Your alter
O holy, holy are You Lord
My true redeemer; my shield, my sword!”

O Father God, I praise Your name
Use these dark times to bring You praise
Help me to grow while in this storm
O be my rudder; bring me to shore
You are my hope, there is no other
My joy and song, my perfect Father
I rebuke you satan, you’re plans won’t prosper
I break your chains for God is stronger
You are a liar; I am not yours
For I am God’s and His truth roars
You tell me everything is lost
But God say’s “no, I’ve paid the cost”
You tell me God won’t hear my prayer
But that’s a lie and I won’t fear
I loose the power of my great God
Into my life, though I am flawed.

O God, Your children of long ago
Faced a great army and had no hope
They were outnumbered; they had fear
But they knew God was standing near
And so they worshiped and they praised
You fought that battle and saved the day
They didn’t have to lift a finger
For You were mighty; You were bigger
You are that same God, now today
You are our Savior, O praise Your name!

II Chronicles 20: 1-26

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

A Song Of Hope

“What is hope” I asked a Man
That stood in radiance, staff in hand
“How does one keep from growing weary
With broken heart and outlook, dreary? “

He looked at me through wizened eyes
And gently said “God hears your sighs
In every circumstance slow down
And look to God and His vast plan.”

“For in each life, comes toil and pain
And stress, and loss, and even shame
But don’t get stuck in that dark tunnel
With eyes fixed down and spirit pummeled.”

“For just like Joseph in the dungeon
With hopes and dreams lost in destruction
God orchestrated all his pain
To prepare him for a marvelous thing.”

“So walk THROUGH trials; eyes fixed on God
With trusting heart though life be flawed
And one sweet day, the good will come
And beauty from ashes will be your song.”

I stared into those holy eyes
And saw a story that could not hide
For He had struggled, suffered, and died
He knew what loss and shame felt like.

In that moment I began to see
That all my pain is not about me
For there is purpose to be attained
And mighty victories in Jesus’ name.

The struggles and loss, the pain and the shame
Serve a great purpose if hope-filled we’ll stay
Allowing God to work in the moment
Waiting on Him to honor His promise.

That EVEYTHING works together for good
For those that love God and follow His word
So never give up; be a prisoner of Hope
For the tables will turn; In that truth… stand assured.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Zechariah 9:12 (NIV) 12 Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;
even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

Well Done My Faithful Servant

This is it. We have one life to be our very best.
To make the most of every day; to live our lives with zest,
To value most the things that last; to not be easily daunted,
To focus hard on good and right and blessings God has granted.
Though life is sometimes filled with trials; still what a gift it is!
There’s always good, if we’ll just look, for God is in our midst!

Each day live life like there’s no more, with purpose and intent,
With focus on relationships and in them, always give.
For when we reach our final hour, that’s all we’ll care about,
Not all the things that we acquired or a big bank account.
Did we love with all our heart? …Did we pour out kindness?
Did we forgive when we were wronged, like God’s forgiven us?

God has a special purpose, that He designed you for,
And you have gifts and talents, that should not be ignored.
For you can make a difference in this lost and lonely world,
And you are valued by our God, like gems and precious pearls.
We weren’t created to exist in passive isolation,
But we were made to grow and share Almighty God’s salvation.

When morning breaks take time to pause; commit the day to God,
Decide to bloom where you are planted and on each problem, trod.
Don’t be defined by past mistakes, but rather learn from them,
And you will blossom in your life and truly overcome!
Pride will never bring true gain… but it will bring a fall,
For there is nothing we can do, that God does not control.

Oh Father help us see in life, the things that really matter.
Help us fulfill Your glorious call and raise a victor’s banner!
Help us know our purpose, and help us see our gifts,
Help us rise when we could fall; pour courage into us.
Then on that day, when we stand before our God and Maker,
We’ll hear the words come from our God “Well done my faithful servant!”

Rhonda shelford Jansen

My Hope, My Joy, My Stay!

God’s with me when I flounder and when I stress and fight,
He holds me close when life is hard and full of pain and strife.
When my faith starts to falter, when I want MY control;
When I cry out that life’s not fair and can’t take anymore;
When He tells me to “Just let go” and I just cannot do it,
Because this isn’t what I planned and now I’m struggling through it.
You know I’m straining hard to keep the future like I planned,
And for a moment I trust You; the next, I take command.

I open up my bible, I cry out on my knees,
I quote and say Your promises, that usually set me free;
But here I sit in anxious doubt so desperate for an answer;
O help me get through this dark book for I don’t like this chapter.
There’s anger and frustration, boiling deep in me,
I’m trying to keep it in control and not let others see.
But I am to my breaking point; O Father rescue me!
For I am lost and needy, O come and set me free!

Hear me Lord, my Father…I know You know what’s best,
So help me trust You even when, life does not make sense.
Please help me to surrender all my hopes and dreams,
To let You to take my trembling hand and follow where You lead.
Help me to lay down all my pride and what I think is best,
Replace it with a trust so true that I walk through this test.
Fill my heart with grace and love; free me from these chains;
Take away my fear and doubt, O turn my loss to gain!

I know Your ways aren’t my ways; I know You’re infinite;
I know that You are sovereign; That You’re magnificent!
That You see the whole picture, the beginning from the end;
So I release all my control and on You, I’ll depend.
I know Your plans are good for me so help me to let go,
And in this fire pour Your peace into this stormy soul.
Bring the change You want in me, I lay down my own way,
To You my Great Redeemer, my Hope, my Joy, my Stay!

Who is the Rock, except our God; His strength is always sure.
He arms us with His power and keeps our way secure.
He makes our feet like hinds feet so we can scale the heights;
He trains our hands for battle; our sword, our shield and might.
Your right hand will sustain us; Your help will make us great;
You clear the path before us so our ankles don’t give way.
O blessing, honor glory, to the King of Kings,
For He alone makes our dark, light; He crushes satan’s sting!
Pslams 18

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Things aren’t what they seem

My eyes are shocked at what I see,
What’s happened to the world?
It’s changing fast before my eyes
And fear is gripping me.
But as I stand there frozen,
A small voice says to me,
Fear not my child, hang on tight,
For things aren’t what they seem.

My job is coming to an end,
Oh what am I to do?
I’m older now; not in demand
So failure’s what I see.
But as I fear the future,
My God, He comforts me,
“Fear not my child, know I am there,
For things aren’t what they seem.”

I’m tired of stress and trials
That plague my family.
I’ve prayed hard for change to come,
That God would set us free.
But as I wait so wearily,
My God says “Stand my child,
I’ll be your strength, your sword and shield,
For things aren’t what they seem.”

God’s at work in mighty ways
That our eyes cannot see.
He orchestrates behind the scenes,
To change and set us free.
We do not know His greater plan,
But He is in control.
So rest and turn your eyes to God,
With deeper faith; let go.

When trials come, when fears abound
Rest in His mighty hands.
Know that He is holding you,
And working out His plan.
He hears your prayers, He sees your heart,
He’s working to that end.
But know He knows what change will take,
And in faith, stand again.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

God’s Great Symphony

God’s Great Symphony

The flow of God’s timing released in our lives
Requires our trust and to stop taking charge
It puts faith front and center and God on His throne
And trusting God’s timing for He alone knows.

You’ve been praying and praying for that unsaved soul
You’ve been asking the Lord to set free all your goals
Rest and wait; He’s at work, in ways we can’t see
Its God’s perfect rhythm and timing we need.

If what we think is best, is not moving forward
If our hopes and our dreams are lost deep in the forest
Don’t give up, don’t despair, and don’t take control
Let the unforced rhythm, of God’s script, soothe your soul.

As long as we’re breathing, there’s a chance to touch lives
With each human contact we’re God’s hands and His light
Even if our lives seem insignificant and small
We’re notes in God’s rhythm and play a great part.

Each life in this world is wanted by God
The great and the small are equally flawed
He has ordained what each man’s roll will be
It’s the unforced rhythm, of God’s great symphony.

Rest where you are, move forward in faith
Submitting all outcomes; He knows the right pace
He hears all our prayers; holds our tears in His hand
As we wait on His timing He’ll help us to stand.

God’s timing is music, it’s a heavenly chorus
As we wait on our Lord, it is beauty before Him
We praise You O God, the true Great I AM
For only You know the beginning from end.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Give Up

Never give up; fight the good fight
For God is by your side
It may seem like the darkest night
But dawn will surely rise
Even when God seems afar
Know He’s really near
And stand up tall and pass the test
And trust without a fear.

Seek God for His perfect plan
Let Him lead your way
For though it’s dark; He’s there with you
To comfort and to say
Fear not my child, I’m with you
I have a greater plan
And you will see as you seek me
I am the Great I AM!

Remember Joseph’s brothers
They sold him as a slave
He then was thrown in prison
For being good and brave
But in the trials he prevailed
In spite of circumstance
He kept on moving, full of hope
He waited on God’s plan
In good time God took the evil
That his brother’s planned
And used each awful circumstance to
Prepare him for God’s plan.

So in the darkest hour
You really aren’t alone
And though it seems God’s absent
Praise Him in this storm
Wait upon the Father
To use it all for good
And you’ll shine in the darkness
Of this lost and broken world
Our Savior, God eternal
The King over all men
Our Great Light in the darkness
Beginning and the End
The lover of our poor, lost souls
The One who gave us breath
O wait on Him, with trusting hearts
For He is in control.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

A Soft and Teachable Heart

potter

God has you here…
Right where you are
For a well planned reason.
It’s not bad luck or circumstance
And you are not a victim.
But He looks down and reads the heart
He knows just how to change us,
And as we rest in His great love
Stress and fear shall flee us.

Its written that God loves the one
That knows His discipline;
He sees a great potential
So allows the storms and wind.
He uses the hot fire, to purify like gold,
As pressure forms a diamond,
He takes you through the forge.

How can the artist’s paintbrush
Tell her what to paint?
How can a builders hammer
Say it wants to be a rake?
How can the clay in potter’s hand
Command the potter’s work?
So how can we not trust our God
The one who gave us birth?

O help us Lord to stand in faith
When everything is rocking.
Make our hearts so teachable,
So we might know Your calling.
O help us find a peace and joy
That baffles human minds.
That we might live to overcome
And be Your shining light!

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

A Darkened Path

Image result for pictures of footsteps in sand being covered up

Shifting sands, shifting sands hide a once known path
What once seemed all so certain is lost in grains of sand
Changing times, changing ways, announce a path unknown
Fear and darkness blind the eyes where God’s light once was shown.

Trying hard to fight the change; can’t things just stay the same
O to stop the madness, the shifting, and the maze
I want to know that everything is going to be okay
Why can’t you tell me God; why can’t I stop this change?

Why do You ask so much from me, to walk out this deep darkness
For I am merely human and need to know the outcomes
I can’t tell my own feelings from Your dear, still, small voice
O help me hear You clearly, so my heart may rejoice!

O how I hate the trials, O how I loathe to change
I wish that I could learn without the fire and the flame
But I have learned, its in Your love, that You allow the fire
To change me Lord, to make me new, to be what You require.

O look on me with mercy, though I’m a broken vessel
I need Your grace to fill me up so my soul can be settled
Help me to get out of Your way so Your plan can unfold
For You have never failed me yet, so I give You control!

 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

 

 

Fear Not; He is With You!

Image result for God walking with us in a storm

The going was good, as they crossed Galilee
But as Jesus slept a squall come on the lee
The boat heaved and shook and was taking on water
The men cried in fear and thought they would falter
They wondered why Jesus didn’t care if they drowned
How could He just sleep while a storm raged around?

They finally woke Jesus and said “don’t you care
We’re going to drown in this storm: death is near”
He rose from His bed and said “Where is your faith”
And spoke to the storm and rebuked all the waves
The storm calmed that instant, His men stood amazed
They wondered and pondered His power that day.

That old fishing boat, would never have perished
And though things looked dark, the Lord God was present
But human anxiety, fear, and despair
Blinded their eyes to their Lord who was there
He calmed their storm, to grow them in faith
And to help them fear not, in storms and in waves.

When trouble rages all around and darkness hides your way
It may seem like the Lords asleep, but know that He’s awake
He knew your storm would happen, He knew the wind would rage
He knows just how He’ll bring you through, so rest, believe, and pray
Show Him that you trust Him, you are his chosen child
And praise His name, the King of Kings, He’s our Emmanuel.

Emmanuel: God with us
Matthew 8:24-32

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Fear, Don’t Let It Stop You

skiing-2

We stood on top of Hog’s Back, an intermediate ski run at Stevens Pass, looking down at the mogul strewn and rather steep hill.  The night air was cold and crisp against my cheeks, thick with the spicy fragrance of pine and fir trees and fresh snow.  I sucked in the rich night air, holding it deep within my lungs for a moment or two, enjoying the sensation, then released it back to the mountain.  The ski slope was painted with lights and shadows cast from the powerful lights sitting high atop thick sturdy metal poles.  Skiers and boarders were swishing back and forth across the mountain, rhythmically moving to the sounds of nature.

I looked down at Sam, my eight year old, standing next to me, also deep in thought about our surroundings.  We watch as Jackson, his younger brother, and Dad headed fearlessly down the hill swishing back and forth.  I looked at the shiny helmet on top of Sam’s eight year brain and I know what he’s thinking. “What if I’ve forgotten how to ski down big hills?  What if I break my arm or leg?  What if I fall?  What if I fall and cry?  What if I fall, break a leg and arm, and die?  Is this really a safe and smart thing for me to do?”  Yep, that’s what was going on in that head, I knew it, but needed to ask anyway.  “Sam, are you ready to head down the hill?” I ask with a big confident smile on my face. “NO, I want to go back to Daisy chair … I’m not comfortable with this hill, it’s too steep … I want to go down another way” was his answer in a voice that started calm but grew in agitation as he spoke.

This was our first ski run of the season and we were ready to conquer the hill.  Well, almost ready.  We had skied the beginner’s chair several times to regain our rhythm and balance after the long break between ski seasons.  Sam was eager but cautious about reintroducing his body to the sensation of gliding over the snow on two highly waxed boards.  He’d been skiing since he was five and was quite a competent skier.  However, at the beginning of each season it took him a while to once again believe in the skill that he already possessed.  So, I reminded him about how he had skied this very slope many times last year and did well, he’d even raced Jackson down it once.  I reminded him that he already possessed the ability and skill; he just needed to trust his knowledge and body.

There he stood, a pint sized Michelin Tire Man in his grey down coat and thick ski pants determined to be immovable.  I knew he wanted to be like his older brother Ryan who talked about ski jumps and racing down the slopes with friends; or to be like Jackson who pointed his board downhill seemingly  never contemplating  the “what ifs” and when he fell, just laughed and got up.  But Sam’s mind didn’t work that way, it dwelled in the “what ifs” constantly asking question that were too deep and probing for a child.

So, we stood at the top of Hog’s Back, surrounded by the beauty of nature and fast moving skiers, discussing the importance of not letting fear stop you from doing what you know you can.  Sam knew he had the skill to ski down the hill; it was fear stopping him, not ability.  We talked about how fear can hinder someone from growing in character and skill, if they let it.  Finally Sam took off down the hill, slowly, cautiously, but he was moving.   Frequently he would stop, give me a squinty eyed look of disapproval and say something like “this is going to kill me” or “why are you making me do this”?  But, with slow progress we made it down the slope where he promptly asked for a cup of hot chocolate.  After a little rest we went back to Hog’s Back and Sam skied the same slope with more confidence, believing in the skill that he already possessed.

Many times over the years Sam and I have talked about how fear and insecurity can immobilize us from doing what we should or want to do.  We have talked about fear in relation to learning math and writing; in regard to school, friends, football, skiing and faith in God.  Fear is an issue that has resurfaced over and over again and each time Sam and I try to talk and pray through it.

Like Sam, I’ve had a life long struggle with fear and insecurity, so I’m able to understand how real and immobilizing fear can be.  Recently, the table was turned and Sam was the one giving me the “don’t let fear stop you, pep talk.”   A little while ago my husband and I decided it was time for me to reenter the workforce after many years of staying at home.  I spent a few months perusing Craigslist and other job boards, filling out application and writing cover letters.  Finally, I landed a job and felt so relieved at having the whole job hunting process over.  However, as I started the new job I realized how rusty my skills were and that I had a lot of catching up to do to be competitive.

I came home from work one afternoon a few weeks after I started my new job exhausted and rather than going into the house I sat on the front porch and let the warm afternoon sun sooth my up-tight muscles.  Adjusting to working full time was challenging, but it was the feeling of inadequacy about my skills and ability to perform my job that really had me down.  While I sat there Sam came out of the house and asked how I was doing.  My answer was surprisingly honest, I said “I just don’t know, I’m a little overwhelmed right now, maybe it’s not the right job, maybe I should quite.”  Well, someone could have cued the music because Sam gave me my speech about not allowing fear to keep us from our goals; how fear can make us doubt the talents we have and even prevent us from using them.  I smiled at my son and said “thanks, I needed that.”

Fear and its partner insecurity can immobilize us.  They can keep us from using and refining our talents.  They can hold us back from success.  They can prevent us from spiritual and emotional growth.  They can keep us from healthy relationships and keep us in unhealthy ones.  Fear and insecurity can keep us from stepping out in faith.  But with God’s help we can stand strong and face our fears and insecurities. Below are two of my favorite verses that help me move forward when fear and insecurity threaten to stop my progress in any area.

Isaiah 41:13 For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.

Psalm 27: 1 The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?

Debora Shelford Hobbs

 

 

God’s Great Symphony

Image result for pictures of a symphony
The flow of God’s timing released in our lives
Requires our trust and to stop taking charge
It puts faith front and center and God on His throne
And trusting God’s timing for He alone knows.

You’ve been praying and praying for that unsaved soul
You’ve been asking the Lord to set free all your goals
Rest and wait; He’s at work, in ways we can’t see
Its God’s perfect rhythm and timing we need.

If what we think is best, is not moving forward
If our hopes and our dreams are lost deep in the forest
Don’t give up, don’t despair, and don’t take control
Let the unforced rhythm, of God’s script, soothe your soul.

As long as we’re breathing, there’s a chance to touch lives
With each human contact we’re God’s hands and His light
Even if our lives seem insignificant and small
We’re notes in God’s rhythm and play a great part.

Each life in this world is wanted by God
The great and the small are equally flawed
He has ordained what each man’s roll will be
It’s the unforced rhythm, of God’s great symphony.

Rest where you are, move forward in faith
Submitting all outcomes; He knows the right pace
He hears all our prayers; holds our tears in His hand
As we wait on His timing He’ll help us to stand.

God’s timing is music, it’s a heavenly chorus
As we wait on our Lord, it is beauty before Him
We praise You O God, the true Great I AM
For only You know the beginning from end.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Let Go! And He will Give You rest

Image result for pictures of peace

When I seek His presence, a peace comes over me
When resting in His shadow, I’m new and I am free
Oh to walk so closely with my Great and Mighty God
Protected in His mercy; engulfed within His love.

When I’m walking closely, with heart and soul laid bare
When I’m clay within His hands, I soar where eagles dare
When I lay down everything that my heart holds so dear
The presence of His spirit falls and makes my vision clear.

When I walk within His path; and hear His still, small voice
The peace of God floods over me and uproots every doubt
When I know that He knows best and rest within that truth
My pride-filled heart melts away; with mind and soul renewed.

When I lay down selfish gain and let God lead my way
Trusting Him with outcomes and all I lose or gain
His presence overwhelms me and I am not afraid
He makes my life a symphony; a poet’s best refrain.

So why does my heart wander, distracted by life’s cares
Holding on to burdens that cover me in fear
And why does pain and trouble, make me forget my God
Why do I strain against His Yoke and act like I am God?

Why do I let pride rise up strong and rule my wicked heart
Why do I think my needs come first, self-centered in my life
Why do I forget that You, always know what’s best
That when I let You lead my way… I overcome each test.

O God please give me eyes that see when my heart turns to stone
Give my mind understanding; a heart for You alone
Give me ears to hear Your truth and shut my ears to lies
That I might have discernment and from my ashes rise!

We praise You in the darkness, we praise You in the light
We trust You Holy Savior, with hearts and souls contrite
Blessing, honor, glory, and power to Your name
The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords; Its You alone we praise!

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

God’s With Us In The Storm

Image result for God walking with us in the storm

Do you feel like you’re alone,
Adrift without a rudder?
Where is God, the heart cries out,
What happened to His favor?
Why do I feel abandoned,
Sinking in the waves?
Where is the light at tunnels end,
Where is Your hand that saves?

Though the storm is at its height,
Though all you see is darkness.
Know that God is there with you,
You need not be frightened.
Fear not my child, comes His great voice,
Know that My ways are perfect.
You’re not alone, I’m by your side
Even when I’m silent.

There is nothing on this Earth,
That severs us from God.
Not height nor depth nor powers great,
Can take away His love.
If God be for us, then who can say,
That anything’s against us?
For even in the darkest trial,
We’re sheltered in His love.

Trust and wait, submit your heart,
This pain will work for good.
Rest in His arms, know He knows best,
His peace will blanket you.
We can’t control outcomes of life,
We scarcely control ourselves,
So stand and walk; give God your best,
And you shall pass this test.

God loves you; God loves you,
Know that it’s true, He hasn’t left your side.
He puts us in the fire
To change us through and through
The fire burns away our chaff,
It will make us strong.
Refined and pure, washed in His blood,
To shine forever more.

 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

THE FAVOR OF GOD

mary

Have you ever pondered the life that Mary, mother of Jesus must have experienced? This topic has been on my mind lately while considering how true it is, that God’s ways are not our ways.  The bible says that Mary was favored by God since she was chosen to give birth to the Messiah. Yet, if Mary had been born in modern times, in our age of quick fixes and instant gratification; I doubt many of us would see her as favored.

Consider some of the difficulties in Mary’s life and keep in mind that she was mother to the promised Messiah…The King. Mary an ordinary girl, found herself pregnant before marriage due to no action of her own; a socially devastating situation back then. She had to travel approximately 80 miles on a donkey during the last month of her pregnancy which was an undeniable hardship.  Mary gave birth in a sheep’s  stall rather than in a warm and comfortable room; not exactly what you’d expect for the son of God. When Jesus was a toddler, they fled to Egypt with little notice to hide from King Herod; doesn’t it seem strange that the Son of God would have to run from anyone? Mary and her family didn’t live a life of privilege but rather she was of ordinary income and was married to a simple carpenter. That too seems backward; after all shouldn’t the Son of God live a life of luxury? Think of a mother’s heart as Mary watched her son rise to amazing prominence and then with no notice, her boy became scorn and shame. This poor mom watched as her son was tortured, ridiculed, and killed as a common thief even though he was innocent and even though he was the Messiah.
Her life sounds much harder than most of us will ever know.
This life is the one that God called “favored.”

God could have easily shown her our type of favor every step of the way and made her life easy but He didn’t, he let her live life with all its imperfections and hardships. The reality is, looking BACK on her life as a whole… she WAS greatly blessed and favored.

If an angel stood before me today and said “Greetings woman, you are greatly favored by God.” I would probably think that from the moment the statement was uttered, all would be well in my life and everything I put my hand to would be quickly blessed. That even riches would be bestowed upon me and my family, and that my children would prosper and be blessed. BUT…that is an incredibly short sighted view and a byproduct of our culture of self-gratification.
Our God isn’t a product of any one generation and instead always sees the whole, complete picture and simply doesn’t measure blessings or success by day to day events.

Mary was blessed even though a lot of her life was hard. After all, she has a fantastic place in history that no other woman can ever share and her son still lives and is still performing miracles in people’s lives.
That my friend is being favored by God!

When life is hard and circumstances fall short of expections; when we feel rejected or struggle with a trial; if money is tight and needs aren’t being met, it doesn’t mean that God’s favor isn’t with us.
If our heart is right before God, we can be assured that we are exactly where our great God wants us and our outcomes (the end of the story) will be beautiful too.  Remember God’s ways are not our ways: they are far higher than anything we can comprehend.

This Christmas, when need and want are paramount and short term blessings weigh heavily upon our hearts; let’s ask the Lord for eyes to see life through His eyes and to not be discouraged by day to day hardship. Let’s walk on the lie of instant gratification and follow Mary’s example, of hiding the truth in her heart and waiting patiently on God to demonstrate His favor in her life.

May the true favor and blessings of Almighty God be upon you and yours this Christmas season.

By Rhonda Shelford Jansen

In Stormy Gale, Our God Is There!

jesus wheel

The vessel shook as each wave hit, its bulwarks bowed and strained
The hull cried out in strong protest; the sounds were that of pain
The ship’s alarms rang out the news that they were in distress
The sky was lost to storm and waves and lighting flashed and hit
Ice clung in shapes that looked like creatures crawling from the deep
The deck was washed in white sea-foam; the wind hurled snow and sleet
The rigging cried in its abuse, the tie downs all were breaking
And chaos reigned, the darkness pressed, the crew felt small; like nothing
Some men stayed frightened in their bunks, while others worked and prayed
The Captain stood strong at the wheel, his focus true and brave
The storm kept beating at the ship and each blow took its toll
As it grew heavy from the ice, it struggled with each roll.

The vessel took on water, the pumps strained with the load
The walls of water hit so hard destruction was foretold
The crew prayed hard and stronger, as hopes light flickered dim
The Captain prayed from deep within and sang loud an old hymn
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait
The sky, not the grave, is our goal”
As he sang out louder, his heart grew full of faith
And hope lit up his fearful heart and joy took sorrows place.

He gripped the wheel and faced the storm, with a brand new strength
And prayed; O God please bring this boat, to a place that’s safe
Hold these men in Your great hands; part these thunderous waves
For if You save us from this storm, we’ll live to share Your praise
You are a God of miracles; The sea hears Your command
But ne’rtheless I trust You; we rest in Your great hands
I will not fear a hungry sea, for by Your hand I’m saved
And whether life or death prevails, my soul in You remains
For You alone are sovereign, You know what is in store
I humbly bow before Thee and trust, though this storm roars
A sweet rest filled his spirit; a peace from heaven fell
He let the Lord take all control; his soul before God knelt.

Jesus took the Captain’s hands and guided him that night
And as the crippled boat neared land a beam came into sight
The Captain wept and stared in awe; he knew that lighthouse well
The broken boat would make it home, though they had been through hell
The crew fell down onto their knees and worshiped God almighty
And vowed to tell all who had ears, about their wondrous story
They knew there was a reason, that God still gave them breath
The veil had fallen from their eyes because of this hard test
Almighty God’s our lighthouse, a beacon in the dark
For He alone commands our storms, and brings us safe to port.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

It is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford

Are You There God?

 

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Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

 

Are you there God, listening to my prayer?

Can you see my breaking heart?

Do you care God, that my strength is gone?

My body and mind are numb.

 

Are you there God, listening to my prayer?

Can you see my parents, ravaged with dementia?

Drooling and muttering, not knowing my name.

I no longer exist to them.

 

Are you there God, listening to my prayer?

Can you see my friend lost in mental illness?

Homeless, clueless, mad at the world

Unable to make decisions for his own best interest.

 

Are you there God, listening to my prayer?

Diligently I work, giving my all

While others refuse to contribute

Then take credit for the results as their own.

 

Are you there God, listening to my prayer?

My loved one is addicted and lives in denial

It’s always someone else’s fault

They’ve mastered the art of victimhood.

 

Are you there God, Listening to my prayer?

The world is crazy, out of control.

Good is called evil and evil good.

Those who speak truth are shunned.

Those who speak lies are called leaders.

 

I cry out to God, my heart is breaking.

God, do you hear my prayer?

Are you aware of my loved ones pain?

Please show me that you are there.

 

God answers in His word

Yes, I am here

I am near the brokenhearted and save the crushed in spirit.

I will wipe away every tear from your eye.

 

I am your fortress and high tower

I will wrap my wings for protection around you

My power is made perfect in weakness

I will never leave you nor forsake you

 

I will renew your strength.

You will soar on wings like eagles;

You will run and not grow weary,

You will walk and not be faint.

 

God is our refuge and strength,

An ever-present help in trouble.

Even in darkness my light shines.

Yes, I am with you.  I am Here.

 

Debora Shelford Hobbs