- Today, many of us will be gathering with family or friends to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. To be candid, I approach the holidays like a soldier living in a war zone—I just want to survive. The pressure to meet expectations, make people happy, shop frugally, cook perfect meals (or sides), make appropriate conversation, and keep the weight off, is draining for this extroverted introvert.
This year, instead of trying to craft the “perfect holiday” I am refocusing my mind toward a better thought.
- Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to perform with a local college band. One of the songs we played was a medley of Celtic songs, including the old hymn, “Be Thou My Vision.” I had heard of the hymn, but never sung it. When I read the lyrics, it became a fast favorite. The whole point of the song is to keep God as the center of our lives. He should be the focus of our heart and the motivator behind our actions:
- Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
- Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
- Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
- Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
- High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
- ~ Eleanor Hull, 1912
God is the best thought.
I’ve been in a personal study this year on what God reveals about Himself through His Word. It’s a deep and intensive study, overflowing with enlightenment. There is so much to admire and love about God:
He loves us with an everlasting love.
He is always faithful.
He is powerful beyond anyone or anything.
He is always near when we call.
He always keeps His promises.
His commands are for my ultimate good.
There is nobody anywhere like God. If my whole world were to crumble, He would remain. I am thankful to be His child!
“Thou and Thou Only, First in my heart”
Sometimes I catch myself singing a hymn and realizing that I need to do a heart check. As I read the lyrics of this song, I asked myself: Is God really first in my heart? Jesus chastised the Pharisees for doing spiritual things merely “to be seen by men.” Praise and earthly wealth were foremost in their hearts. If I am honest with myself, there are times when it is also first in mine. God should be the One I place preeminently in my heart and mind. God is a treasure of priceless value, worth the effort to seek and embrace wholeheartedly.
“Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower”
In my earlier years, I used to run to people for comfort and support. I still crave human companionship, but the Lord has slowly taught me to lean on Him more than I lean on others. People will inevitably fail us, often unintentionally, because they have bad days, weak moments, or the corrosion of age. God never changes, never grows old, and never fails. There is no greater refuge than Him. When my heart is overwhelmed, He is a safe harbor.
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings
~ Psalm 61.2-4, NKJV
“Heart of my own heart, whatever befall…”
Will God remain as king of our heart no matter the circumstance? Job, in his great affliction, made many mistakes with his words. His initial response, however, is one we should all have in the face of the greatest trials:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
When I say, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ I am implying that I should be exempted from life’s struggles because I am a “good person.” There are many flaws in that line of thinking, not the least of which is the “good person.” I sin on a daily basis and it is only through the blood of Jesus and His grace that I am made righteous. Jesus—the most perfect person on earth—was not exempted from pain or suffering, so why should I consider myself above such things? This world is merely a journey; the destination is far better. Suffering is a reminder not to put roots down on earth’s shifting sands. Suffering does not negate God’s goodness.
If “the worst” should happen in our lives, will God remain King in our heart?
If we should achieve all our earthly dreams and stand at the pinnacle of success, while God still be the best treasure of your heart?
Will we cling to Him “whatever befall”?
May He always be the center of my heart, whatever the years may bring.
As you pray today, take a moment and thank the Lord for adopting you as His child, dwelling within your heart, and loving you completely.
In case you’ve never heard the song, below is a youtube video of it: