Posted in Music

My Own Pocketful Of Sunshine

I don’t think Natasha Bedingfield meant her song “Pocketful of Sunshine” to be a song of praise to God, but I’m going to take it that way anyway.

The song begins by saying “I’ve got a pocket, a pocketful of sunshine”, and the overall message of the song is that one can escape her sorrows and stress by going to a hidden place. Well, I’ve got a pocketful of sunshine in my soul as well because I have a relationship with God. That hiding place she talks about? Well several Psalms talk about God being our hiding place.

You are my hiding place; you preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7

She says “I’ve got a love and I know that it’s all mine”. Oh yes! I do have a love from God and I know that nothing can take that love away from me. It’s a love that I still haven’t fully comprehended, but just to give you glimpse, it involved a completely innocent man dying because God knew I wouldn’t be able to have a relationship with him otherwise. This love surpasses anything I can do wrong or right, and it is completely free to me. It causes me to sing, dance, and smile. It urges me to love others just a bit more because I am so so thankful for the love God has given me.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 35-39)

Bedingfield’s claim is that “you’re never gonna break me, sticks and stones are never gonna shake me”. As a Christian, I know that to be true because God has armed with a full armor of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the sword of the spirit (Ephesians 6). With that kind of armor, mere sticks and stones don’t stand a chance. With God, I am stronger than any army.

I can do all things through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

To her enemies, she proclaims “wish that you could but you ain’t gonna own me, do anything you can to control me”. That’s what I yell at the Devil. When the devil tempts me and tries to control my mind or actions, I can rebuke him with scripture just like Jesus did in the garden. Because of God’s reign in my life, the Devil has no place in my life. God is bigger than the Devil.

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

The bridge to the song says “There’s a place that I go that nobody knows, Where the rivers flow and I call it home, and there’s no more lies and the darkness is light and nobody cries; There’s only butterflies”. My place that I go? Into the arms of God. I can hide in his words and his comfort. In that place there are rivers of life (John 7:38), no lies (Numbers 23:19), and the darkness is made into light (John 8:12). There may not be butterflies, but the fact that Jesus is there is greater than anything. The presence of God is truly somewhere I can call home.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

As I walked home this afternoon listening to this song, the line “the sun is on my side, I smile up to the sky, I know I’ll be alright” caught my ear (and led to this post). I’ll take a little liberty here and replace the word “sun” with “Son” referring to Jesus. That Son is on my side, so on rough days or good days I can look up toward heaven and know it will be alright because God has a great plan that ultimately ends in my eternity with him in heaven. Praise God!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

So if you see me walking with my earbuds in bobbing along with a smile on my face, I just might be thinking about how I have a pocketful of sunshine. For me, this will be a song of worship.

Posted in Education

School Approaches

School begins in just a few short days, my room is ready, and my head has reached its normal level of spinning. I have pretty much finished decorating my classroom if the posters will stay on the walls. I’m grateful to be in a place where I can post scripture on my walls that will help me feel encouraged as well as hopefully encourage the students. I’m also thankful for having such a large classroom.

Posted in Book Review

Unlocked

I have generally not been making posts about the books I listen to, but Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury struck a chord in me that I must talk about.

unlocked

The story is centered around a child who is diagnosed as autistic at the age of three. The diagnosis tears apart his family and separates him from his best friend Ella. Fast forward fifteen years to when Ella and Holden are seniors in high school. They reconnect in spite of the fact that everyone else things Holden is regressing. Side plots include a set of bullies and some orchestra kids, Ella’s family troubles, and Holden’s father. Through it all, Holden’s steady faith in God proves to be the key to changing the world around him.

At first the book struck me as interesting because it is the story of a movie which plays a big part in another of Kingsbury’s books. The second part that struck me was the portrayal of autism. Some of the characters truly believe that Holden can come out of the silence he has been in since he was three, and this is evidenced even more so by the way that Holden narrates some of the story. Also it was interesting to ponder the idea that the actions which his teachers labeled as autistic actions could be explained by events in his past. For example, he reveals that the reason he flaps his arms is that he’s praying and the bursts of push-ups when agitated are because his father told him push-ups would make him a man. While I don’t know what it feels like to be autistic, the way in which Kingsbury allowed Holden a voice gave dignity to his character when most portrayals of autism are only from the outside looking in. (Books autism keep coming on my radar without even trying. See my other recent reads Best Boy and In a Different Key if this topic interests you as well.)

This book turned out to be much more emotional than I had planned. Most of the time I listen to audio books while I doing  something else, which contributes to the fact that I don’t make posts about them, but this book stopped me dead in my tracks at one point. I refuse to spoil the plot, so I will only say be prepared for an emotional moment when a character unexpectedly dies.

Other good parts of the book: the story of Beauty and the Beast plays a major role; entire scriptures are quoted; it is referenced in another book as a movie, so does that mean a movie might happen?

While the audio version was well done, this is a book I may pick up as a hard copy if I come across it again at the right time. Karen Kingsbury remains one of my favorite Christian fiction authors.

 

Technical Information
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Published by Zondervan 2010
323 pages
Posted in Bible Study, Life

I Dare To Hope

I have been feeling pretty discontent lately. I want things to happen in my time instead of God’s time.  I keep praying for the same things and hoping that they will happen.  Then I had a realization.  I need to be patient for God’s timing; it’s perfect anyway.  No matter how bad I want something to happen, I also need to be patient and wait for God to work it out.  This applies to numerous parts of my life.  The thing is that God knows what he’s doing so I shouldn’t rush Him.  It’s just that the human part of me wants to see results.

Patience.

It’s a hard thing to come by, especially when I want something for a long time.

It’s not that I’m praying for things that I know are out of God’s will.  I feel like these things are in God’s will for my life, but I also feel that I’m getting the wait sign from God.  That’s hard to accept, but I am thankful for the opportunity to work on my patience.

I think I’ll share a few verses I’ve been clinging to in case any of you readers (whoever you are) struggle with the same thing:

Philippians 4:6-7  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

That peace.  Hmm…I have experienced that occasionally and it’s nice.  Then my flesh takes back over and I start worrying again.  That peace is what I desire.  Peace knowing that God has my life under control.

Acts 14:21-22   They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,  strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

The last part of this verse really speaks to me.  Waiting on God is a hardship for me, especially when I want something to happen very badly.  Hardships do not mean physical trials; they can be emotional or mental trials that no one else ever sees.  There’s hope here.  Hardships end in a good thing- Heaven.  I think I can suffer through these emotional battles, even if they are never answered the way I want to, if only I get to go to Heaven.

Isaiah 40:31   But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

This was my Papaw’s favorite verse I do believe.  I will wait on the Lord.  There are times recently when I’ve felt weak, silly, and weary.  I know though that if I trust in God, He will restore me in His time.  Patience.

Lamentations 3: 21-32   Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord’s demands.  Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last.  Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies.  For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever.  Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love.

I didn’t post all of Lamentations 3, but I could have.  It’s one of my favorite passages.  It reminds me that no matter what I go through, be it loss, chains, or arrows, or something else, God is faithful.  I dare to hope.  It is good to wait quietly for God.  No one, even me, is abandoned by the Lord forever.  After grief, comes compassion and love.  Hmm… I just love this passage.  I probably could have made an entire post just about this passage (actually I think I might have once upon a time).

I dare to hope.

I wait patiently.

No one is abandoned.

The Lord will come through…in His perfect timing.