Tag Archives: Faith

Rest Here

Sun Rays Through The Clouds

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Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!   Psalm 4:6

Surely, this prayer is answered for those of us who believe! The Lord’s turning toward His own is an eternal turning, a never rescinded invitation sealed in Christ’s own blood.

We live our lives abundantly beneath His watchful eye, encompassed by His love, safeguarded by His protection and encouraged daily by His help. The light of His face upon us offers forgiveness for sins, growth in our sanctification and a promise of our future and final glorification.

His love is never divided between His children, but exponentially multiplied, grace upon grace.

His attention is a benefit unlike any other offered by mere mortals even though they be men of power and renown. His is an attention to the most minute detail our souls can require with an eye towards our good end. And, He not only has our good in mind, but the absolute power to bring it to pass!

We imagine that friendship with the rich and famous may afford luxuries and opportunities that will give rest to our souls, but the truth is that relationships like these take a lot of work. One must be able to keep up, wear the right clothes, exhibit the appropriate level of intelligence and match resource for resource in an ever evolving appreciation for the finer things in life. And, should we be unable to reciprocate, our worldly alliances wither and die. Amity based on our ability to perform is absolutely exhausting.

How much better to be a friend of Christ!

Because of the Gospel blessings we have in Jesus, the relationship we have with God is not based on our performance but upon the performance of His Son. He took on human flesh. He was tempted and yet did not sin. He humbled Himself unto death on the cross. He took the punishment we deserved. He paid the death penalty that we owed. He rose again and conquered even the grave on our behalf.

It is finished. We need not work. We need not fear. When we fail, our Father does not fold His arms in anger nor sigh and turn away but calls us back with open arms, accepting us in the beloved for Jesus’ sake. And so we pray along with the psalmist, “Look here, Lord! Shine the light of your face upon us!”

This is the saving reality of the Gospel. Rest here.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Confessions of a Kingdom Builder

closed_kristin_castle_236080

I am a kingdom builder. My kingdom is self.

I build my kingdom according to my will. When circumstances or people fail to meet my expectations, I respond in impatience, disbelief, and anger. Sometimes I am willing to compromise a bit, but my reasons for doing so are selfish. I give a little to get a little for my kingdom.

The problem is that my idea of what the Commonwealth of Terrie should look like is in direct opposition to the Lord’s. Not only that, but I try to build my kingdom at the same time God is tearing it down. This is futile, frustrating, and absolutely exhausting.

Sometimes, a wrecking ball is called for. Sometimes the Lord uses more subtle means. But either way, my kingdom must fall. The foundation is pride, and it must be destroyed.

But this I know and believe: His Kingdom is best, His realm, the most beautiful. His authority is trustworthy and true.

My kingdom will end. It is mere vapor, all smoke and mirrors. His Scepter reigns forever.

My kingdom is constructed on a lie, His on the Truth.

I build my kingdom on shifting sand. His Kingdom is founded on the Rock that is Christ.

This morning, first thing, circumstances thwarted my kingdom yet again. I had plans. But a dead battery in my car put an end to what I had intended for my little empire today. I did not respond well.

But, there is good news.

If I should try to build my personal domain ten thousand times a day, God’s mercy and grace demolish each beggarly attempt. It is for love’s sake that my Heavenly Father will not allow my kingdom to stand. And, it is for the Gospel’s sake that my prideful response to its dismantling is crushed by the cross. He meets me there, and I am magnificently ruined and gloriously wrecked.

Jesus died for kingdom builders like me.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.  Psalm 45:6

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


The Unchangeable One

For I the LORD do not change… (Malachi 3:6a)

Consider the world around us. Instability is unavoidable. The global economy stalls and staggers, the stock market fluctuates and we hold our breath, foreign governments collapse and reform, world leaders come and go, and whole cities declare bankruptcy.

Everything changes so quickly. Technology advances at an unimaginable rate, we travel from here to there as our world becomes smaller, and we communicate instantaneously with the push of a button or the stroke of a keyboard.

Our personal lives are susceptible to change, too. Marriages fail, finances grow thin, and friendships fade. We can lose our jobs, get sick, or suffer disappointment. And, even if our situation changes for the good, we live knowing that things can turn in an instant, the phone call in the night.

In the middle of all this uncertainty, there is One who does not change. He is the great I AM.

God’s character is sure. I do not have to worry that He is or ever will be anything less than good, just, merciful and kind. He has given me His Word that for the sake of His Son and by virtue of His Grace, my sins are forgiven and my name remains written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. I can trust Him for now and for eternity. He extends His hand to me, and He will never let me go.

I find much comfort in the Immutability of God. I can rest. I can know. I can trust in His character, His attributes, and His promises.

He is the one Constant in my life, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Leaning In

big flower

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.  1 Corinthians 15:19

I love looking at pictures of my mother before she got sick. In those photographs she is how I remember her, happy and surrounded by family. If I had known how much I would miss that part of her life, perhaps I would have paid more attention, taken less for granted. Somehow, these images on paper console me. Bittersweet, yes, but a comfort nonetheless, and some days I need the comfort.

My siblings and I were privileged to be with Mom the last few hours of her life. In waiting, we experienced the most unlikely pairing of impatience and dread. It was hard to watch her suffer, hence the impatience. It was tough knowing she would soon leave this world, hence the dread. This would be the moment we most feared and the moment we’d been waiting for, the moment we would always remember and the moment we would long to forget. A perplexing contradiction of emotions where reality bit hard and we bled pure helplessness.

In a romanticized version of death, the dying patient appears at rest. In her final moments she is able to utter her last words and squeeze her loved one’s hand. In that account, people weep softly and say that dying is just a natural part of life, that one must accept it as such. But I found death to be painful and heart-rending and devastatingly unnatural. Death has claws and fangs and knows no finesse. The scars will not soon heal. Watching your mother die hurts.

I have questions. Mom could not articulate, but she was able to cry out. What was she trying to say? Was she thirsty? In pain? Did she know we were there? (I do think she did know, by the way.) Some questions, I don’t dare ask others because I know they don’t have the answers either. Why burden them with that? Some mysteries are best left for God to unravel, or not, as He sees fit.

There are also certain memories of those last hours that will remain unspoken. It’s as if to do so would somehow cheapen the recollection, devalue the treasure. I will keep them to myself, take them out now and then and examine the facets, scrutinize the details, and relive the most distressing and beautiful hours of my life.

To an outsider, there was nothing about Mom that would have been attractive that night. But we were not outsiders. We had years of history with her. We were her babies. She had labored with us and loved us and kept us safe. She was our mother, our teacher, our confidant and friend. She had agonized with us in our struggles and celebrated with us in our joys. Our being there was inextricably tethered to a specific context and saturated through and through with what our time on this earth together had allowed, a lifetime of memories bound up in the unbreakable bands of maternal love. No, we were not repulsed.

We leaned in.

We drew close to her because we loved her. We tried the best we could to give comfort. (Oh, how she had so often comforted us!) But, One leaned in closer than all the rest. One leaned in because He loved her more and better than all the rest. Jesus was with us that night, as real and as sure as the room we were standing in. Jesus leaned in with a blood-secured love for one of His own and first-hand experience in what it meant for Mom to suffer. His wounds spoke to her wounds, and He leaned in with the power and urgency of a Savior able to save. In dying, Mom let loose of my hand and was plucked away from death to life by sacred Hands that will never let her go.

Death is ugly and raw, but faith implores me to plant my feet and stand. I know that my Redeemer lives. Someday, all sickness and death will be banished forever. The misery and suffering we face on this side of Heaven are temporary, momentary and light compared to what awaits us in Glory. Part of that lightening is that Mom will be there waiting for us.

“And I’ll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordan…
And when I see you coming, I will rise up with a shout,
And come running through the shallow waters reaching for your hand!” *

I miss you terribly, Mom. But, someday I will lean in to where you are and join you in singing praises to our King.

…He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.  Revelation 21:4

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

* Far Side Banks of Jordan, by Terry Smith


Peace! Be Still!

Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee (Photo credit: Seetheholyland.net)

He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” Mark 4:40

Jesus and His disciples are out on the Sea of Galilee when a windstorm arises. The waves break over the side of the boat, threatening to capsize it. His disciples begin to panic and fear for their lives. But Jesus, undoubtedly exhausted after a long day of teaching, sleeps soundly in the stern. The disciples cry out to Him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we are perishing?”

My storms are not literal wind and waves but nonetheless real. Just like the disciples, I become anxious and distressed. I fear the storm will overcome me and that I will perish.

The fragility of His humanness on display, Jesus is tired. And even in the midst of the storm, He sleeps. But here, I relate more to the human response of the disciples. As they responded to their storm, I respond to mine. Waves of despair engulf me and the storms of life fill my boat. I cry out to Jesus, “Don’t you care, Lord?”

Jesus hears and asks a question in return: “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Like the disciples, I have seen the Lord do many mighty and wondrous works in my life and in the lives of others. But on this day, during this storm, I am too weak to give an answer. I plead for mercy and grace.

I’m asking the Lord to still the storm.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Prayer for My Grandson

On December 24, 2012, our daughter gave birth to a 6 pound 15 inch, healthy baby boy. She named him Kash. I am beyond thrilled to be a grandmother, or as I want to be called, “Oma.” I am awed by the love I already have for this little life. I thought  my days of loving and caring for babies were gone forever, but no, God has blessed me with another opportunity to do so. I am so looking forward to being a part of my grandson’s life as he grows. I’m so excited about teaching him about Jesus! What an amazing grace this is!

Praying Hands (Dürer)

Praying Hands (Dürer) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim Your might to another generation, Your power to all those who come.  Psalm 71:18

Heavenly Father,
You already know everything about this new baby boy who is now a part of our lives. You knew the precise moment he would make his appearance and the exact number of days he will live on this earth. His personality will not come as a surprise to you. You know what his strengths and weaknesses will be, whether he will prefer carrots or peas, Oreos or chocolate chip cookies. This precious boy has been in your mind and heart for all of eternity. You have formed him and knit him together!

If we could count your thoughts toward him, they would number more than every grain of sand on every shore and in every ocean. Every hair on his head is numbered. This little baby is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Father, my prayer above all is that Kash would come to know You at a young age. Please give  him an awareness of your amazing love that stops at nothing for us, a love vast enough to include the sacrifice of Your only Son, that whoever would call upon His name would be saved.

Lavish your grace on my grandson, Lord! Equip him to be a mighty man of faith, loving and serving You for Jesus’ sake all the days of his life. Make evident to Kash the certainty of your care for him in this very uncertain world. Lord, bless Kash with understanding and wisdom beyond his years and with an early appreciation for the truth of Scripture. Let him see beyond temporary pleasures to the everlasting treasure of an inheritance that will never fade away. Let him taste the freedom that comes through a life lived in obedience to your Word. Grant Kash the adventure of walking by faith and not by sight, trusting in Jesus for everything he needs.

Father, it is a misplaced hope that Kash will live out his days free of heartache and difficulties; we know real life is not that way. So, I place my hope for Kash squarely on you. In humble expectation, I trust that whatever trials he may face; he will never face them alone. Thank you for your promise to work all things together for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.

I pray that in times of joy or times of trouble, Kash would be found grateful and trusting in his Heavenly Father who loves him more than I could ever imagine and who is able to do far more abundantly than I could even ask or think.

Thank you Father for hearing my prayer.
In Jesus Name, Amen!


The Open Hand

You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.  Psalm 145:16

THE OPEN HAND

by Terrie van Baarsel

Drinking deep of deadly lies
Blind and dead to His good will
Had He not plucked me from the mire
I would be left in darkness still.

What antidote to crushing debt
Was freely giv’n by God’s own Son!
No need had I t’was left unmet
Once sin’s power had been undone.

That God would do what I could not!
That God could do what I would not!

That God would hide my life in Christ
And calm my soul so prone to fear
Then satisfy my heart’s desire
By loving me and drawing near!

Oh, the open hand of God
That opens freely and of Grace!
No clenched fist, no iron rod
No punishment meets upturned face.


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