Posted in Advent Meditations, Connecting With God thru the Arts, God thru the Arts, Sunday Morning Meditations

“O For a Heart to Praise My God”

We can find inspiration in all kinds of places… if we allow our eyes and our hearts to stay open to all the possibilities. I love how this artist shares with us a vision of the angels, like pure little babies, spilling out of heaven to share in the Annunciation of Jesus’ birth. Sharing the gospel the “good news”  is, after all, what it is all about. What Christmas is all about….

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The Annunciation 1655-1660, Bartolome Esteban Perez Murillo 1617-1682, oil on canvas, 55.9 x 42.3 in., Hermitage Museum, image source

So think now how those babies are spilling out of heaven to share the good news of God’s amazing love in the past, in the present and hopefully in the future. Think of all their infinite variety. Sometimes they are blessed with special talents that glorify the Father and touch our hearts deeply with music and artistry, but also with the very poetry of their lives… and still others come along with challenges so great that we are filled with wonder at their courage….

This week, I want to simply share with you two places I have found encouragement.  It has been interesting to see how the Spirit found these elements to mix together to refresh my heart for God’s story, (and hopefully yours:))

It is amazing to think of all those who have gone before us and paved the way for the Church of today and in this light it is important to note Charles Wesley.

Charles Wesley, raised in the Church of England,  was a believer and follower of Christ who lived in the 18th century and longed for a more intimate…passionate…spirit filled Christian life. He felt strongly about his message of “awakening” from a faith of sleep walking, to a greater depth of knowledge of the love of God.  To preach this message he often traveled the English countryside preaching to audiences numbering in the thousands.

In this way he influenced many, however, it is as a gifted poet who wrote between 3 and 6 thousand hymns that we are touched still today and many of  his songs we still sing.

Most famous for his “Hark the Herald Angel Sings”  reflect here on the words of another one of his great hymns with a Christmas message:

Love divine, all love excelling, Joy of heav’n, to earth came down!

Fix in us thy humble dwelling; All thy faithful mercies crown.

Jesus, Thou art all compassion; Pure, unbounded, love Thou art.

Visit us with Thy salvation; Enter every trembling heart.

So it is not often that you find someone who can capture the spirit of these words…someone who is so pure and unbounded in his love for God and sharing his personal message with the world.

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Johnny Hudson speaking to an attentive audience at the Fort Detrick Prayer Breakfast 10/21/14 What a lovely memory captured with this photo, thanks Chaplin Ahn

I met someone recently who spoke with just such purity of passion and I was touched deeply by his message. He spoke to us from his heart assuring us that we are all precious in God’s kingdom.

Johnny Hudson was the guest speaker this past month at the Fort Detrick Prayer Breakfast.

As you can see from this picture, he was born with no arms, no legs and only one foot.

But Johnny has not let these limitations stop him from achieving anything he has desired…once he sets his mind to something he usually finds a way to achieve his goal. This man has a family, he drives a car and you will even see that he can bowl:) amazing!

His story highlights what can happen with one who has a loving mother willing to say yes to God’s mission for her life even when she could only see the impossibilities.

Johnny told us his story with eloquence and confidence and I was amazed at his ease in front of this large audience. I encourage you to spend time with this man who has a great heart for God and who has refreshed my spirit.

 

 

In his message he spoke passionately against the temptation of suicide by illustrating logically from the heart how important we all are to God and to those around us…to those who love and depend on us.

His personal scripture is:

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” Psalm 139: 14

So as we pray this week together, let our meditation of paintings and song join, and let them collide in our heart with the image of our brother in Christ Johnny Hudson.

O for a heart to praise my God,

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That is me with Johnny Hudson and his wife Rachel on the right.. photos courtesy Chaplin Matthew Ahn

A heart from sin set free.

A heart that always feels thy blood, So freely shed for me!

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,

My great Redeemer’s throne,

Where only Christ is heard to speak, Where Jesus reigns alone.

A heart in every thought renewed, And full of love divine,

Perfect, and right, and pure, and good, A copy, Lord of Thine.

Charles Wesley

Peace!

P.S. You can find Johnny’s website here. He comes with his precious little family. His wife sings beautifully and he has a beautiful little boy about two or three years old now. I highly recommend him for your youth activities.

All Things Bright and Beautiful

The beauty of a traditional English Garden featured here from Drummond Gardens Scotland
The beauty of a traditional English Garden featured here from Drummond Gardens

It is recital week…so special prayers for Thursday night for all to go well. The FCC flute choir is joining with the Choral Arts Society of Frederick to celebrate the music of English composers: All Things Bright and Beautiful November 13 7:30 p.m. in the JBK theater. Great rehearsal today!

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Author:

I am a Christian Author, Arts Teacher, Public Speaker and Musician. My mission is to share the power of arts to the greater Christian community. My books, "My Dancing Day: Reflections of the Incarnation in Art and Music" and "The Joyful Sound, Reflections on the Life of Christ in Art and Music" can be found on Amazon or in My Createspace estore: https://www.createspace.com/4318541

3 thoughts on ““O For a Heart to Praise My God”

  1. There’s a story in the Bible in The Gospel of Mark, chapter 12, verses 41 to 44, that Jesus relayed to the crowds surrounding him, about the widow who put in only two coins , saying, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (ESV) God makes the wise of this world fools because in His Kingdom, those that are used most by God are those who do not have much but they give any way. In the eyes of the world, Johnny Hudson did not have much to offer with his physical limitations, but what he does have, faith in Jesus Christ, he used abundantly to glorify God. When we are at the moment where we say, “I have nothing to give,” it is at this very point that God gives us the opportunity to give Him to all.

  2. Thank you Chaplin and Brother To! So wonderful to hear your voice ring out and express so beautifully what we all felt that morning. I am so proud and pleased to be a “good neighbor” and honorary member of your group:)

    Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

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