Tag Archives: Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Hope in our Frailty

God frequently uses people for His glory that we as humans would never choose. That fact gives me hope that no matter how insignificant, untalented, or floundering we or those we love might be, there is always hope. The bible is full of unlikely individuals that have made a vast difference in the world in spite of the odds. The very people you and I might pass over are often the ones that God chooses because he sees into the heart and chooses the ones that have a heart for Him. He doesn’t care about who we are, where we’re from, or how much money we have. With that in mind, who knows what God has in store for you and those you love!

A simple man with no big plans
No lofty goals consume him.
He didn’t come from wealth or gain
Nor high class education.
Most think he won’t amount to much
His future’s etched in stone,
But thank the Lord, God values man
By his heart alone.
A waitress working hard each day
Just trying to pay the bills.
She wasn’t born to silver spoon
Nor were her wants fulfilled.
Just working class and most would think
For her there’ll be no change;
But we don’t know, what God has planned
Nor what He has arranged.
God sees beyond her circumstance
Fulfilling hidden dreams.
Think about a fisherman,
Who worked in Galilee.
A simple man from lower class
He was no Pharisee.
He worked each day, just catching fish;
Obscure from most mankind.
Until the Son of God called out,
“Come fish for souls of man.”
From that moment forward
Peter was transformed,
When God perplexed the ways of man,
And shattered social norms.
David was the youngest son;
A simple shepherd boy.
He had no right to leadership;
Nor kingly path in store.
But God saw David differently
He cared not for mans rules;
For He knew David’s heart was right;
Humble, pure, and true.
God chose the one least obvious
To demonstrate His might;
And David’s place in history
Became Christ’s holy line.

 

God is not confined by man
We cannot know His mind.
He chooses those we least expect
To show that He is God.
He doesn’t look at privileged lives,
Nor beauty, fame, or brains.
He looks into the heart of man
And chooses in that way.
So if your life seems simple;
No wealth or fame in sight.
It really doesn’t matter,
For God only sees your heart.
Do you have a heart for Him?
A longing in your soul?
To serve and grow, to always change;
To give His love to all?
If you do, then rest assured
That God will bless you too.
And you will see what God has planned,
For someone just like you.

 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

The Hidden Path

 

I cannot see the future Lord… but clearly I see You.
Right now all outcomes seem 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, is faithful unlike 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; walk me though this 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

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

Rise Today and Praise His Name

FORTRESS

I’m fighting hard for daylight my heart is filled with fear,
I’m begging for the answer that my heart wants to hear.
Why has this trial happened, did I do something wrong?
Or has God just allowed this, to change me in this storm?

Its true God sees inside our heart and knows what we long for,
And He does love to answer prayer from a humble heart.
But sometimes He has work to do to change and make us better,
And in the trial we’re refined; our chaff burned in the fire.

Oh what a God that loves us so, that sees each ones potential,
He’s calling us to grow and change into a shining vessel.
Just like a loving parent whose discipline brings pain,
To teach their beloved child, to find a better way.

Oh what a peace that’s offered when we lay down our way,
Oh what a joy that floods the soul, when we trust God each day.
When we love the Giver, far more than all His gifts
Then no matter what we walk through, our hearts and souls will lift.

Oh praise Him in the roaring fire and in the raging storm,
Walk upon the towering waves and know you’re in His arms.
Let go of what encumbers, the chains that bind so tight,
And rise today to praise His name, He turns the dark to light!

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

My Child; Come Forth!

free

Call forth Your people, into their true purpose
Out of the tomb and the grave clothes that bind us
Strip off the chains that have taken us captive
Set free our purpose to blossom and practice.

Sometimes it’s comfortably safe in the tomb
Where no one can hurt us and failure can’t loom
But each life’s important to God’s perfect plan
And failure to launch is what Satan demands.

Life’s pressures and hurts have blinded our eyes
They’ve robbed us of purpose and bound us in lies
But God has a plan for you and for me
To unbridle our gifts and set our talents free.

Gifts aren’t just arts, or teaching, or leading
But also of serving, hospitality, and giving
Together we form an ornate tapestry
That blesses our God and proclaims His majesty!

Lazarus was done; he’d been buried for days
It seemed all was lost and there was no way
But God’s mighty power called him out of the grave
To start life again, to be new; to be saved!

Out of the tomb, our mighty God calls us
He say’s “Child come forth, be free from the darkness!”
Strip off the grave clothes and soar like a bird
Become what I made you and no longer fear!

Embrace who God’s made you; you’re His great creation
Blossom and grow in your purpose and station
Do all that you do, as unto our Lord
Not for worldly approval that will come and go.

Bless Your name Father, our Creator, our Lord
Its You, Mighty God that we will adore
May we be a fragrance of blessing to You
As we use what You give us, with hearts humble and true.

 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

I spoke to the air, as if it could hear me,
And said “All I want is just to be happy!”
I asked with frustration, “Where does happiness lie?
I’ve searched but can’t find it, though I try and try.
I’m making more money; I bought a lake house,
I bought my dream car and got a new spouse,
I’m climbing the ladder and buying more things,
Some people might say that I’m living the dream.
But each time my happiness just fades away,
When I thought for certain, it finally would stay.”

A little old lady tapped me on the shoulder,
And said “Dear please hear me, for I am much older.
I once was like you…I lived to be happy,
But all I became was selfish and shabby.
It took many years for truth to come clear,
That nothing on Earth can keep happiness near.
Nothing we buy or those we hold dear,
Nor status or title, or money to spare.
Happiness really is just an emotion,
That shifts like the sand and moves like the ocean.
What we love today, changes tomorrow,
And chasing and grasping, will only bring sorrow.”

“I learned that joy flows from a heart that is grateful.
And never depends on what’s set on my table.
I realized that God has planted me here,
It’s my job to bloom where I am, without fear.
To become my best, in each situation,
To love others more than my selfish obsessions,
To pray for my needs, then let go of the answers,
For God is all-sovereign and He knows what matters.
When you’re discontent, tell the Lord… He will help you.
And ask for a heart that is changed and renewed.”

“The Bible says clearly to seek first our Lord,
It changes the heart and the things we adore.
God knows all our needs and He sees our hearts,
Tell Him your desires, for He is our source.
Rejoice every day in God’s perfect allotment.
Let thankfulness reign and live life with contentment.
As we wait on the Lord, He gives joy everlasting,
And fills up our hearts with whatever is lacking.”

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

 

Frozen

Frozen in circumstance
Numb, without feeling
World, swirling out of control
Lost in a blizzard
With whiteout conditions
My world is falling apart
Frozen lips, can’t form a prayer
Heart; an ice berg void of care
Forsaken, forsaken is all that I hear.

From this dark place Lord, lift me up
Give me a heart that’s hopeful
For I have lost Your narrow path
And need Your hand to guide me
May Your true love melt my cold heart
May Your light break this darkness
For I am weary, tired, and lost
And need my heart to blossom.

Please give me eyes that see beyond
This frozen land of blizzards
May my lips worship You in praise
For You alone are sovereign
Unfreeze my feet and hands today
That I might grow inside this storm
And shine with love from You alone
Please use these troubled broken times
To encourage others falling
For this storm came to change my heart
And shine on its dark corners.

In perfect time You’ll calm the storm
You are my mighty army
My God so good; my savior true
You save me from the darkness
You are my strength, You make me brave
My mighty shield and fortress
I give You all, submit my will
O God of my salvation
You make me thrive in troubled times
To walk upon my problems
To dance and sing to stand up tall
And worship You forever!

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

Don’t Wish Away Your Life

It’s easy to find ourselves at any age, in a state of discontent.  Most often, the grass really isn’t greener on the other side and the other side will bring its own set of problems.  The best way to prosper in this imperfect life is to be thankful for what we have and for each stage of life because it goes by far too quickly.  My own Dad, said to me many times, “Don’t wish away your life.” Those are true words of wisdom.

Her 18th birthday was getting close but not quite close enough
For she could hardly wait to be free of childish stuff
She couldn’t wait for college, to head down her own path
To live a brand new future and be free of Mom and Dad
No parents breathing down her neck, no teachers keeping tabs
A truly independent girl, giving life a stab
Her Daddy always told her, “Don’t wish your life away
But savor every moment for time quickly slips away.”

She thought those words were silly for tomorrow’s always better
And on she marched at a fast pace, thinking she was clever
But then she realized the stress of keeping up her grades
Of barely having money and dealing with roommates
She focused on the stresses; blind to all the good
Getting out of school… was all she understood
Her Daddy always told her, “Don’t wish your life away
Know that life is fleeting so treasure every day.”

She dreamt of something different; she was tired of her life
She thought if she found something new, true happiness she’d find
Forgetting her Dad’s warning, she wished away her days
And all the steps that life serves up; to her, were just delays
And she forgot to stop and see the joy in every phase
She thought “I’ll find an awesome job, and I’ll have lots of money
And then I’ll find the perfect guy and my days will be sunny”
Her Daddy always told her, “Don’t wish away your life
But enjoy every moment, discontentment will bring strife.”

Her new job was a hassle her boss was less than nice
And marriage wasn’t all she dreamed; sometimes she felt like ice
She knew her hopes were failing; she didn’t know just why
But as she sat and pondered, a little voice replied
“Be thankful for each moment; don’t wish away your life
For life is never perfect; discontentment will bring strife
Be thankful for each blessing and focus on what’s right
For bad things always live beside what’s good and what is bright
So rest when things aren’t what you thought, enjoy each stage of life
And you will bloom right where you are; and joy will shine like light.”

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

 

 

STAND UP

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Stand up  stand up, don’t be afraid for God is with you now
The times are dark but you will shine as at His feet you bow
You may feel weak and timid; you may seem tired and lost
But know that you are strong through Him; the one who paid our cost
Do not shrink back from holiness; the future, do not fear
For as you stand, He’ll cover you; your chains will disappear.

Trust God inside life’s battles; Fix all your hope on Him
Don’t run ahead and fix things, wait on Him instead
He lets His children struggle, to change our stubborn hearts
He stretches us and molds us, to Godly works of art
Be not conformed unto this world, don’t seek the easy way
For if our savior did that, we’d still be lost today.

Stand strong and courageous; obey God’s holy word
For when the way is darkened then you will stand assured
For we’re His mighty army, we’re here to take the land
We’re salt unto a dying earth; an extension of God’s hand
So fear not in the battle; our fight is not with man
For satan is the liar that seeks to crush God’s plan.

But our God reigns eternal; the battle He has won
And one day soon all knees will bow as darkness becomes dawn
Shout out to Him your worship; exalt Him in the land
Lets open wide our hardened hearts and be clay in His hands
All glory, praise, and honor, belongs to Him alone
The holy one who conquered sin, let’s bow before His throne!

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

THE DAILY GRIND

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The Revelation…

Busy with demands of life
Lists so long I feel uptight
Caught up in the daily grind
To stay on top, not fall behind.
Working hard and trying to hurry
All around me seems a flurry.
Trying hard to be my best
So distracted that I forget
To shine the love that Jesus gives
To know my life is really His.
To keep in balance life’s demands
To step into His perfect plan.
To sit so still, before His throne
To hear His voice; to be His alone.

The prayer…

Lord turn my heart to  Godly gain
For things that last beyond the grave.
May my values and use of time
Bless and honor You, my God.
Help me to seek You every day                                                                               To read Your word; take time to pray.                                                                   O take away my tunnel vision
Please guide me as I make decisions.
Help me to stay out of Your way
To bless my neighbor… to serve each day.
Fill my heart with gratefulness
With peace and joy and love that lasts.
Help me Lord, to see like You
To seize each day and know Your cue’s.
To hear Your voice with ears wide open
With heart so soft and life devoted.
Please give me wisdom for each day
To guard my time and always pray.
To see where I am self absorbed
To care for those I once ignored.
May I fulfill the reasons why
You gave me breath and planned my life.
So when I stand before Your throne
I’ll hear You say, “My child… Well Done!”

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

The Power of Prayer

prayer

The Power of Prayer

 

If we knew the power of prayer
From an open heart that’s bared
Down on our knees, seeking God’s face
Crying out from depth of need
Knowing that our God is near
To humble hearts that are sincere
We would see His power unleashed
Changing our lives; victory released
In that prayer a mountain moves
Hearts are changed, our health…renewed.

As we stand washed in His grace
With prayers that touch His holy face
Asking for our hearts desires
While trusting Him with whens and whys
Seek Him with your heart and soul
Tell Him your cares; He’ll make you whole
Pour out your heart, pour out your needs
Tell Him what you feel and think
Don’t be afraid, He already knows
The hidden thought, the darkest soul.

Rather than shouldering worries and cares
Obsessing or’ problems and troubles you bear
Pray out each worry; tell Him what’s looming
Trust more in God for He knows what He’s doing
Ask Him to change you and make your heart pure
Take captive your thoughts and stand on His word
Bind Satan’s lies that say God’s not there
Bind every spirit of pride and of fear
Pray that what Satan intends for his purpose
God would take back and from ashes bring good
Don’t be afraid to approach our God’s throne
He’s waiting for you to finally come home.

What would we see if the church really prayed
With wide open hearts that are ready to change
Praying that God’s perfect will would prevail
Praying for hearts that will serve without fail
We’d see Mountains crumble and deserts that bloom
Christians that walk upon trouble and gloom
People fulfilling potential and purpose
Lives that are healed and faith that is certain
The power of prayer has barely been tapped
Oh what we’d see if we’d follow God’s path
Know who you are, you’re God’s chosen heir
His power is there if you seek Him in prayer.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

OUR FORTRESS STRONG

 

FORTRESS

Almighty God so full of  grace Your love is constant through my mistakes
You gently mold my prideful heart into a shining work of art
The disappointments known to man You use for good… to complete Your plan
I stand amazed at Your great power; sea, stars, and sun, before You cower
I bow before Your mercy seat, my pride cast down beneath Your feet.

You see me through Your wealth of patience, though I’m a weak and rebel servant 
You love in spite of my slow learning, in You alone there is no turning
In You there is authority, to break strong-holds and become  free.  
I worship You, most holy God. Your grace and mercy know no bounds
I give my heart, hold out my hands… to God my Father, the beginning and end.

O thank you God! I can’t believe, You sent Your son to die for me
He bore my sin, suffered my shame; Nailed to the cross… naked and in pain
My righteousness is filthy rags, but through Your Son, I’m pure at last
I worship You most Holy Father, forgive my sins and faithless falters
All Mighty God! The Kings of Kings! The heavens and earth Your praises sing!

Your ways are far beyond my grasp; Some seem unfair… like terrible tests
But You are God, You see beyond…our daily struggles and painful loss 
O give me eyes to see like You, and ears that hear and know Your truth
To put aside my mortal wisdom to gain Your truth and eternal vision 
I worship You, O  awesome  God, my hope, my song, my Fortress Strong!     

You are my fortress and my strength, my anchor sure, my everything                                                              There is nothing that can compare, to the great love and grace You share!                                                       Our God reigns, He is not dead! He rules the world…justice in hand                                                                     Lets worship Him in everything, with hearts that trust our Lord and  King                                                             All glory, honor, worth, and power, belongs to God our Fortress tower!                                                           

 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

A Soul Offended

offended

When bitter strife replaces peace; offenses grow… and poison grace.          
When hurts flood in with dark deluge and pessimism guides our view.
When every path is blocked with battle; the heart turns cold and becomes fragile.
Our minds tell us to be on guard and we hear words through wounded hearts.
As we smolder in hurt and pain; where grace once grew, now judgment reigns.

With righteous heart we dish out blame, we feel like victims in life’s hard race.
We fix our focus on others’ faults, pointing our finger while blaming all.
We throw our shoulders back and say, “They’re the ones that need to change!”
We think we know the heart of man, when God alone knows their real plans.

O Lord show us our wayward hearts, expose our sin so pride departs.
Cast out that dark, offended spirit; give humble grace that knows no limit.
Help us see the offender’s way, through Your eyes and heart of grace.
Help us to pray before we speak… to know our understanding’s weak.
To know You’ve placed us where we are to test our faith, to try our hearts.
Help us to trust when life’s unjust …to see ourselves like others must.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

God is in Control!

GOD IS IN CONTROL
My Lord my God how great you are
You formed the heavens and every star
You separated sea from land
You hold each man within Your hand
How awesome are Your wondrous works
Your ways, mysterious and not like ours
Though our world may shake and fall
You stand eternal, above it all.

You order planets in their place
You rule the sun and all of space
The heavens are Your holy throne
The Earth, a footstool, for You alone
The rocks cry out in praise to You
The Great Creator, the Only Truth
All idols fall before Your shadow
All knees will bow, for You are hallowed.

Your righteousness is like the mountains
Your wisdom; an eternal fountain
Your justice; deeper than the sea
Your grace makes Satan’s darkness flee
Your love is like the mighty ocean
Your truth, it reaches to the heavens
The Earth resounds all of Your glory
All nature tells of Your great story.

You are our fortress and our strength
Hide us beneath Your mighty wings
May we dwell within Your shelter
And angles hold us lest we falter
A refuge true, are You alone
A certain shelter in the storm
There is no other in earth or sky
That can compare to God most high!

We know Your ways are higher than
What man can grasp and understand
Help us to trust in ALL Your ways
The good, the bad; life’s twisted maze
O fix our eyes on You alone
To walk on trouble, fear, and storms
To lay down all our foolish pride
To see things through Your knowing eyes
So joy will fill our heart and soul
And peace and rest will make us whole.


Isaiah 40:10   So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

 

 

HOLY MOST HOLY!

Holy Most Holy!

Be strong and courageous; careful to obey
Be anxious in nothing but rather just pray
Love God Almighty with all of your heart
From God’s holy covenant, we must never depart.

Humble ourselves before God’s holy throne
Put away pride and self righteousness known
As we love ourselves, we must love all our neighbors
Be watchful for envy; shun greed without waver.

Tear down our idols, whatever they are
And pray without ceasing with full open hearts
Judge not the heart of a sinner or friend
But in love confront; try to bring an amends.

I fall on my knees as I hear these commands
For a heart that obeys is what You demand
But in all Your laws, I constantly fail
If not for Your grace, I would never prevail.

God says to forgive; like He forgives us
Do not pay back evil; in His vengeance, trust.
Freely give money and serve others more
Care for the widows, the orphans, and poor.

Watch closely the words that come out of our mouths
Profaning God’s name we should never allow.
To fear Holy God with reverence and awe
And in all of our ways, to Him closer draw.

Know that our plans are not greater than God
And we build in vain if its not from above.
Run from adultery; fornication must end
Let thoughts that are lovely and pure always win.

I fall on my knees as I hear these commands
For a heart that obeys is what You demand
But in all Your laws, I constantly fail
If not for Your grace I would never prevail.

There is a way that seems right to a man
But in the end death is what grows from that plan.
Your laws are for safety; for keeping us humble
To know that we’re weak and without You we stumble.

For my righteousness is just like filthy rags
Its only Christ’s blood that covers my stand
So humbly He died to atone for my sin
The great sacrifice …the beginning and end.

Oh thank you my God for Your grace and Your mercy
Please never give up on working within me.
Thank you for sending Your one precious son
Who covered my sin when He said “It is done.”

We praise You and thank You, in awe we bow down
Your ways are mysterious; You mercy, renown
Let us proclaim all Your honor and glory
Sharing with others Your truth and Your story.

All glory to God, let the earth shout Your praise
May Your people stand up and in unison say
Holy, most Holy is Almighty God
Forever You reign in grace and in law. 

 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

 

The Rest of the Story

A few years ago I wrote a post called Overcoming Resentment.  It is a story that covers a three year period in my life that taught me a hard lesson about pride, resentment, and forgiveness.  Since writing that post, the story came full circle and now I must share the rest of that saga because it is one that shows how the ashes of our lives really can be turned to beauty.

For background purposes, here’s a quick summary of Overcoming Resentment:  When my two youngest children were preschoolers an older couple living next door didn’t like the noise and chaos that radiates out of little kids.  The couple regularly called the police with complaints against my children for side walk chalk, wading pool noise, and laughing and yelling from childish play.  They tape recorded the kid’s noise and played it back at distortion levels into the street.  There were many other terrible events during that three year period and our neighborhood became a hostile place and I became bitter and resentful toward my neighbors.

I had been convicted for months to go and talk to the lady of the house but I always made the excuse that I wasn’t to blame for the problems;  I shouldn’t be the one to apologize…she should. But the Lord persisted with the conviction and the end finally came when I was flipping through my bible and landed on Job 36:13 – The godless in heart harbor resentment; even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.
After reading that passage, I realized that the Godless person full of resentment was me and I could no longer wait to apologize to my neighbor.  I had to take responsibility for my part.  I told God that I was too chicken to phone, but would go outside and work in the yard and if they came out, I would apologize.  As I walked out my door, their garage door went up and out stepped the lady.  With a pounding heart, I called her name and walked over to her yard and apologized.  After that conversation, they never called the police on my kids again. 

As the years moved forward, our previous enemies became our friends.  That in itself was an amazing shift but even more incredible was when she was diagnosed with lung cancer six years ago; I became an active part of her life.  This woman who once hated me, called me frequently for help and when she passed away a year ago, I held her hand as she lay dying.  But the biggest blessing of all was praying with her for salvation before she died.

After her death, I kept an eye out for her husband as he was in his late 80’s and alone as his children live out of state.   Two weeks ago, I pulled into my driveway late one afternoon and noticed that his outside lights were still on and the newspaper still lay in the driveway.  Dread overwhelmed me as he is like clockwork in his actions and his lights are out and newspaper always picked up by 10:00 AM.  I called him several times and went over to his house to ring the door bell.  There was no answer.  I peeked in his windows to see if I could see him on the floor but all I saw was the coat he always wore, hanging on the back of a chair.  I grabbed the spare set of house keys they had given me, timidly went into his house, and found him passed away in his bed.

So why do I tell this story?  Because it reminds me that God is a God of reconciliation.  It reminds me that my pride and self righteousness never work for good, but humility, when I allow it to grow in my heart, births something I would never known as possible.   At the time, it seemed unfair that God required me to apologize when I had never said a rude word to the couple…but God saw the evil in my heart…the evil I had try to hide away.  When God finally got my attention, He took what the devil meant for destruction and turned it into good.

The enemy (me) became a daughter, when God totally turned the tables on a very ugly situation.  And that’s what God does….if we let Him. 

Sometimes God requires us to do things that don’t make since or that seem unfair; things that hurt a lot or cost us our pride.  But rest assured God cares more about our heart and its spiritual state than one ounce of our pride.  As we get better at humbling ourselves in the sight of the Lord, we will get better at getting out of His way and giving Him room to really move in our lives and in the lives of those around us.  That is when we will see with our own eyes that God really makes beauty from the ashes of our lives.

 

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 broken dreams and hope abandoned.
God orchestrated all his pain
To prepare him for a marvelous thing.”

“So walk THROUGH trials; eyes fixed on God
With humble heart and teachable mind
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
Are for 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.

 

God Loves You Like You Are!

Rejection’s a deceiver, it binds a once strong heart
It takes control of gifts and dreams and tears them all apart
It builds thick walls around the soul; PROTECT… is its great aim
For nothing ventured, nothing lost; seems the safest way.
Rejection fills the heart with fear; I turn and run away
I cannot bear to fail again, safe in my walls I’ll stay
The sticky lies  Not good enough, You did it wrong, You can’t do that
Forever block my way; they choke and shame each fledgling gift‘Til talent dies away.

But just when I was finished, completely bound and lost
The truth of God…it came to me, and broke rejections’ mock
God told me that, HE planned each life, designed each girl and man
To fulfill a special purpose and complete a wondrous plan                   Now  who am I to argue with the One who made all things
For His own Son came here to die to set our bound hearts free.

How can I hold my worth contempt, for He makes no mistakes
Instead I will give back to Him; myself, my life, my gifts
To use and grow… to freely give, no matter great or small
To be faithful in the small things and perform for God alone               The shroud of fear is finally gone, for my Lord broke the chains
For though I’m filled with endless flaw, God’s approval covers me.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen