Friday, November 21, 2014

Just A Whisper

Just A Whisper 
by Vicki Scott Burns

The journey begins, the darkness descends.
Where this road leads I can’t begin to see.
I just close my eyes, do my best to disguise
the emptiness echoing inside of me.
My heart is broken, my soul’s come unwoven.
God, please tell me how can this be?

God, when will You speak? God, when will You call?
When will You show me if You’re there at all?
Just a whisper, God, will do…

All of my dreams, my whole life so it seems,
have been shattered like a broken mirror.
The loss is too steep, the pain is too deep.
These shards of glass shred my mind with fear.
My heart is aching, my soul is waiting.
God, please tell me what am I to do?

God, when will You speak? God, when will You call?
When will You show me if You’re there at all?
Just a whisper, God, will do…

I stand in the ashes of all that my life was
feeling too small to be seen by Your eyes.
A stirring inside brings the truth to my mind
that from ashes You make beauty rise.
My heart is bleeding, my soul is weeping.
God, please tell me when will beauty come?

God, when will You speak? God, when will You call?
When will You show me if You’re there at all?
Just a whisper, God, will do…

Child, I hear you speak and I hear you call.
Each step of the way, I have walked through it all.
Child, I hear you scream and I hear you cry.
Even your silence takes flight through the sky.

Child, just a whisper draws Me nearer to you…
Child, just a whisper...just a whisper…
Even a silent whisper will do…

“The righteous cry and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” 
Psalm 34:17-18


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Crazy Still

Crazy Still

It seems twenty-four seven
has replaced the nine-to-five
It's time to leave even
before I have arrived
Not enough time for You, I don’t like how this feels.
This crazy pace is growing crazy still
crazy still, still crazy is this pace

My engine’s running slow
can’t change gears fast enough
My tank is running low
can’t seem to fill it up
I’m driving in circles, I’m spinning my wheels.
This crazy race is growing crazy still
crazy still, still crazy is this race.

God, stop me in my tracks; help me find Your way back…

Seems like just yesterday
I gave my heart to Him
Simple rhymes cannot state
the things I feel within
Heart and soul in motion, searching out His will
My crazy love is growing crazy still
crazy still, still crazy is my love
Still crazy is my love for Him…

copyright © 2005 by vicki scott burns

Monday, November 17, 2014

Awakening


Awakening


Surrendered heart and soul to You
so many years ago
Said I would follow where You lead
I’d take hold and not let go
I’d live my life authentically
It’d be real not just for show

And as the years have come and gone
I’ve thought I was doin’ fine
Thought I could always hit the mark
if I didn’t cross the line
Didn’t know I had slumbered in
a complacent lullaby

Suddenly I’m awakening
Familiar stirrings deep within
I am awakening…

Seems I had wrapped You in a box
Placed You high up on a shelf
So I could claim to belong to You
Yet live life for myself
Now this masquerade eludes me
As the truth reveals itself

Suddenly I’m awakening
Familiar stirrings deep within
I am awakening…

Heart and soul awakening
Bringing me to life again
Familiar stirrings deep within
So deep within
I am awakening
Awakening
I am awakening
Awakening
I am awakening



copyright © 2004 by vicki scott burns



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blessed Routines

Routines surround me. The seasons come and go in the same order year after year. The sun rises and sets every day. Each week is comprised of seven days, each year is comprised of twelve months. The list is endless. I rely upon the predictability and constancy of these routines to add structure to my life. Webster’s dictionary defines a routine as a “regular course of procedure.” These regular courses of procedure make me feel comfortable and secure. These routines affirm that my life is orderly, that things are as they should be, and that I need not worry about the details of their existence. Somehow, these routines just seem to happen. All I need to do is revel in their existence.

I continue down the list of things that are routine in my life. I have work routines: outlines, rough drafts, edits, revisions, and publications. I have home routines: laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, cooking, and caring for the dogs. I have personal routines: showering, exercise, keeping up with family and friends, and Bible study. These routines, unlike the ones that seem to happen spontaneously, require my constant attention and effort. Except for my outing to church on Sundays, every day seems pretty much the same: routine, predictable, constant. Sometimes I feel as though I am simply going through the motions without any real purpose. Sometimes I whine about the dull monotony of my routines. Sometimes I feel trapped by them and perform them begrudgingly.

Desiring a change of scenery, I retreat to my favorite hiding place: a local coffee café. In this place, the only thing that matters is coffee. Everyone seems happy. Nobody seems to be weighed down by life. My endless list of tasks awaits me, but for now I’m free to bask in the simplicity of my surroundings. I glory in the escape from my very constant, very predictable, very routine little life. Nothing here demands my attention. No one is expecting anything from me. Pressure simply does not exist. I am free to sit and sip my cappuccino for as long as I like. In fact, I may spend the entire day hiding here.

Intrigued by the magnetic pull that this place has upon me, I observe my surroundings more closely. The employees always follow a standard protocol when interacting with customers. The espresso is always brewed for a standard amount of time. The milk is always heated to a standard temperature. The beverages are always made to the standard recipes. When I come here, I know in advance what I will get, and what I get is exactly what I want. These things are what draw me back again and again. It suddenly occurs to me that in my effort to escape the seemingly dull and worthless routines of my life, the routines in which predictability and constancy reign, I retreat into the predictable and constant routines of this café.

As I wrestle with this revelation, I am caught somewhere between confusion and comprehension. My mind wanders to Paul. I am profoundly inspired by Paul’s heart, which unconditionally belonged to God. Throughout the New Testament, God used Paul in mighty ways. Could Paul’s life possibly have been as routine, as predictable, and as constant as mine?

To a large degree, I think it was. Paul had a single purpose: to bear witness to Jesus Christ. He traveled from city to city to share the gospel. Upon arrival in a city, Paul sought out the place of prayer used by the Jews. He candidly spoke to them about Christ’s life, death, burial and resurrection. He used the scriptures that they knew so well to proclaim that Jesus was the promised Messiah (Acts 17:2, 3, 17; 18:19.) In response, Paul was accused of unlawfulness. He was repeatedly persecuted, beaten, and imprisoned. Paul’s actions and those taken against him were routine, predictable and constant. Paul knew that his routine, the regular course of procedure that had become his life, would eventually lead to his death. Yet Paul rejoiced because his routine enabled him to accomplish the tasks that God had set before him, to fulfill the ministry to which God had called him. That knowledge brought Paul peace in the midst of his persecution and suffering. That knowledge gave purpose to Paul’s life and enabled him to focus on Christ rather than on the routine itself. That knowledge moved Paul to rejoice because through his routine Christ was glorified. In 2 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul confidently states that he has done what God asked him to do and that he awaits the reward God promised: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day—and not only me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

With Paul’s words echoing in my mind, I jot down my list of routines. Written on a napkin, it looks like nothing more than a menial list of chores. I have let my flesh convince me that because these things are “routine” for me, they are inherently boring and without value. The fact that I sometimes whine about them and perform them begrudgingly reflects my misperception of their purpose. Scripture doesn’t show Paul whining or performing his routines begrudgingly. Instead, Paul exhorted the Galatians to follow his example and to “serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13). Without exception, Paul served others with love through the routines God had given him. Paul was a good and faithful servant.

Wanting to be a good and faithful servant like Paul, I take a deeper look at my list. I am caught unaware, as if I am really seeing the list for the first time. It reveals that God has filled my life with “routines” to keep me focused on Christ. These routines, as binding and monotonous as I sometimes perceive them to be, are blessed gifts that protect me from idleness, from distraction, and from vulnerability to Satan. These routines are also part of the work God has given me to do. It’s difficult to imagine that washing dishes or doing the laundry can make me more Christ-like, but that is exactly what happens when I do these things with a servant’s heart. My routines fill my life with opportunities to minister, to serve, and to love. They provide opportunities for me to follow Paul’s exhortation to the Galatians in small yet powerful ways. Given the opportunity, my routines draw me closer to Him in ways I had never considered.

Tears spill from my eyes as I acknowledge that my self-centered flesh has encouraged me to flee from the routines that God thinks are perfect for me, routines that may enable others to see a glimpse of Christ in me. This startling discovery fills me with peace, purpose, and joy. To my surprise, the unexpected has happened: I no longer feel the desire to escape. The endless list of tasks awaiting me no longer overwhelms me.

I glance at the employees smiling at the long line of customers, cheerfully asking how they can be of service to them. I am filled with the desire to serve my Lord, my family, and my friends in the same way. At the end of my life, I want to know that I have fought the good fight, have finished the race, and have kept the faith. I want to know that I served others in love. I want to hear the words that Paul surely heard, the words from Matthew 25:21: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

By the time I’m down to the last sip of my cappuccino, I have gleaned a new perspective. Rather than attempt to escape from the routine things in my life, I will rejoice in them. So I lift what remains of my cappuccino in a toast to my blessed routines. Without them, my life would be just another cup of coffee.

© 2004 by vicki scott burns

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Colors of You

One of my favorite things about living in New England is the change of seasons. Every few months, God paints a new tapestry, full of color and rich in detail. As I gaze upon these tapestries, I can see the Master Artist's hand at work. Here's a little peek at what I see. Hope you enjoy it.

The Colors of You
by Vicki Scott Burns

The smoky swirls of a fire’s warmth
The stillness of the midnight air
Ebony skies at night
You are black

The crown of wisdom that comes with age
The clouds that dance across the sky
Shiny streaks of moonlight
You are gray

Man’s darkest sins made pure as the snow
The lilies that adorn the fields
My breath on wintry days
You are white

The color of a cardinal’s wings
The velvet petal of a rose
Blood Jesus shed for me
You are red

The final glory of the sunset
The crown of jewels fall trees adorn
Refining fire’s flames
You are orange

The golden tones of the mercy seat
The glimmer of the rising sun
Land flowing with honey
You are yellow

The evergreens high upon hilltops
First sign of spring’s awakening
Emerald pasture lands
You are green

The innocence in a newborn’s eyes
Sapphire waters deep and dark
Indigo skies at dawn
You are blue

The shadows of mountains majestic
The hues of David’s royal robes
Shimmer of gentle rain
You are purple

You are the Master Artist,
This canvas is Your gift to me.
Lord, thank you for letting me see
The colors of You.

Copyright © 2014 by Vicki Scott Burns

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Therefore I Am Well-content: Living in God's Grace

Our nation will forever feel the effects of 9/11. We are reminded daily of the current terrorist threat level. We are sending our loved ones off to war. Our economy is in a slump. Some of us are sick. Some of us are unemployed. Many of us are at the end of our rapidly fraying ropes of security. Surely, Paul couldn’t have been referring to situations such as these when he exhorted us to be content in all things. What was Paul thinking?

Paul was thinking some of the same things that we are. Paul suffered with some type of physical ailment that he referred to as “a thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Like us, Paul would have welcomed an escape from his suffering. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, Paul asked God to remove it. Paul wrote, "7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me." In addition to this thorn, Paul had been beaten, persecuted, imprisoned, and was facing death. How did God respond? In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul wrote, "And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'” Paul found this grace. What was it? How did he find it? What did he do with it? 

Grace is God’s unmerited favor. It is the extension of God’s hand to His undeserving child. To receive God’s grace is to receive what you do not deserve: redemption through Jesus Christ. According to Romans 5:1-2, faith is the key that releases God’s grace. Through his faith in Christ, Paul received the gift of God’s unmerited favor. God reminded Paul that His grace was sufficient. God did not remove Paul’s thorn, yet Paul not only accepted God’s answer, but in 2 Corinthians 12:9 he wrote, ” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

To boast means to glory or to exult over. Am I to exult over my “thorn in the flesh,” my weaknesses, my distresses, and my sufferings as did Paul? Clearly, God’s answer is yes. For only when I boast about or exult over these things, can I recognize my total dependence on God and my need for my Savior. Without Christ, my weaknesses are just weaknesses. With Christ, my weaknesses are opportunities for me to seek Him and to allow Him to do His work in me. Surely that is something to be gloried! I easily understand this principle, but applying it has often been difficult.

“But this is too big,” I said. “This is too painful. I will never be able to boast over this.” I was convinced of those words. My heart was cut too deeply to boast. The pain was too much to bear. The change in my life was too big to overcome.

A simple sprain followed by a simple surgery to remove tiny bits of scar tissue that had formed between my carpal bones. Then the nightmare began. An aggressive, destructive tumor took my right hand captive. In two-and-a-half years I endured nine operations, countless hours of occupational therapy, four months of wearing a cumbersome machine attached to my hand, and radiation treatment. There is not an established protocol for the treatment of my condition. I prayed incessantly about this hand. My husband prayed. My friends and family prayed. My church prayed. Elders anointed me with oil and prayed over it. The emotional ups and downs throughout this time were unrelenting. Each corner promised a new and hopeful solution. However, nothing stopped the tumors. I quickly lost most function of my hand. There was nothing I could do but pray.

I’d always known that God would answer, but I wasn’t seeing it. Then He guided me to 2 Corinthians 12. This passage became a lifeline for me. I read and prayed it more times than I could count. Through Paul, God taught me how to respond to my situation. He showed me that Paul did, in fact, boast about his weakness. What was the result?

In 2 Corinthians 12:10, Paul wrote, "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." To be content means to be well-pleased. Paul knew that by boasting in his circumstances, he allowed the power of Christ to dwell in him. That power not only made Paul content with his weaknesses, but also provided Paul with the strength to face them and to use them as opportunities to glorify Him. 

My hand remains my thorn. It will never function as it should. The pain may never cease. The scar will never go away. Yet I am well-content with my hand because it keeps me from exalting myself.  It keeps me on my knees. It keeps me looking upward. It no longer matters whether God’s answer is yes, no, or not yet. I choose to accept and appropriate God’s grace and that is sufficient. 

Paul’s contentment was a by-product of his heart for God. The collection of his experiences helped mold his heart: the thorn in his flesh, his weaknesses, his insults, his distresses, his persecutions, and his difficulties. Each of these experiences independently and collectively created Paul’s heart for God. He accepted God’s grace and appropriated it. My heart for God is molded from the collection of my experiences. Yes, my hand has been an extremely difficult experience, but it brings me to my knees where I can honestly thank Him for allowing it to happen. The emotional scar on my heart and the physical scar on my hand keep me looking up to Him. These scars allow me to bear witness to others about the reality of my faith, the sovereignty of God, and the sufficiency of Christ. In my weakness, God has made me strong. He uses my thorn to bring glory unto Him.

What experiences have molded your heart? Do you allow these experiences to bring you to your knees? Go. Pray to Him. Seek Him. Search for Him with all of your heart, and you will find Him and His gift of grace. Accept it. Appropriate it. Experience it. You, too, can be well-content.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Shall Find You


I Shall Find You
by Vicki Scott Burns

Something about the still of night
moves the quiet in my soul to write
but not tonight
My heart is aching, put to the test
Mind’s filled with scattered thoughts at best
I must confess

I cannot claim to know
everything about You
I cannot understand
all the movements of Your sovereign hand
But this one thing I will always know:
when I seek You I shall find You
here with me

Eventually peace settles in
Music in my soul begins
and words flow again
They’re drowning out the background noise
so I can listen for your voice
I must rejoice

I cannot claim to know
everything about You
I cannot understand
all the movements of Your sovereign hand
But this one thing I will always know:
when I seek You I shall find You
here with me

You said to seek with my whole heart
now I know just where to start
I’ve got to empty it of everything but You

I cannot claim to know
everything about You
I cannot understand
all the movements of Your sovereign hand
But this one thing I will always know:
When I seek You I shall find You
When I seek You I shall find You
When my heart seeks You I shall find You
here with me
Copyright © 2014 by Vicki Scott Burns

"'11 For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

P.S. When I write these lyrics, I hear beautiful music in my head. The only problem is that I don't know how to write music. If you happen to know of a musician looking for lyrics, please let me know. Thanks!

Monday, April 14, 2014

I'm Going to Your House Today


Think of me as the Dirt Terminator. I attack the dirt in my home as if I’m Arnold Schwarzenegger on a mission to free the world from evil. I am convinced that, if left to their own devices, the messes in my home would self-reproduce into indestructible colonies. The baseboards would be upholstered with dust bunnies. The ceilings would be draped with cobwebs. Dirty dishes would overflow the sink. Heaps of dirty laundry would carpet the floors. Beds would never be made. Toothpaste would line the bathroom sinks. Don’t even think about the toilets. The end result, of course, would be my complete nervous breakdown. To avoid such a catastrophe, I clean constantly. Neurotic does not begin to describe my obsession. When my kids were teenagers, they threatened to cordon off the house with a red velvet rope and charge admission to the Museum of Clean. They were convinced that they could raise enough cash to buy cars.

It all began twenty-eight years ago. On a Friday night, we had two couples over for dinner and games, one with their toddler in tow. Two days later, the toddler's father unexpectedly knocked on our door. I frantically threw junk into closets and swept dirt into hidden corners, trying to hide things which I didn’t want him to see. He was my treasured friend, a friend I had known since the seventh grade, and I was ashamed to let him into my home. I’m sure he heard me tossing things to and fro on my way to the front door, but he was gracious and friendly, simply wanting to redeem a forgotten high chair. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t even noticed that a high chair was there. It was leaning against the dining room corner, camouflaged by heaps of stuff strewn across the table. He knew exactly where he had left it, but when he left it there the dining room looked like the Emerald City. Now it looked like Dorothy’s house after being tumbled in the center of a tornado. To say that I was humiliated would be a gross understatement. As I watched my friend excavate the high chair, I wondered what else was hidden beneath the rubble. The instant I closed the door behind him, I went into motion. That house sparkled when I was done!

I have been completely neurotic ever since. Don't get me wrong. Other peoples' homes and messes don't bother me at all. It's my own dirt that I fear. I think that I am so afraid of losing control over it that my only option is to completely dominate it. For me, there is no middle ground. Yes, I know. I am way too neurotic about it. Be that as it may, I want to be prepared for guests at any given moment. Friends for dinner. The plumber. The mail carrier. The neighbors. The kids’ friends. People looking for pieces of furniture which they left behind. I want my home to be welcoming and comfortable to whomever knocks upon my door. I want my home to be a sanctuary of sorts, a place where my guests can escape into a bed-and-breakfast type atmosphere. I want my guests to feel relaxed, refreshed, and anxious to return.

Television commercials and magazines only encourage my behavior. I am inundated with advertisements for cleaning products. Who hasn’t heard of the Swiffer Wet Jet? Who hasn’t marveled over the genius who figured out how to put Windex and Pledge into wipes, thus making one-handed cleaning a dream come true? Who doesn’t praise the toilet bowl disc that not only minimizes the number of times one has to reach inside the bowl to clean it, but also fills the bathroom with the scent of fresh rain? Products such as these promise to make my cleaning experience simpler, more efficient, and even enjoyable. So is it really that strange that my neuroses about a clean home somehow make me feel calm, happy, and ethereal? My husband and kids may not understand me, but I am elated. I have beaten the Dirt Devil, and I revel in my victory.

I often sing while I clean. Trust me when I say that my singing voice helps to scare the dirt right out of my house! Today’s tune is stuck in my head. I’m sure you’ve heard it. It details the day that Zaccheus, the wee little man, was saved. Suddenly, I picture Zaccheus sitting in the top of a sycamore tree. Zaccheus, a wealthy tax collector, was a man of small build. As Jesus passed through Jericho, Zaccheus was unable to see Him because of the crowd. So Zaccheus climbed into a sycamore tree for a more advantageous view. When Jesus walked by this tree, He looked up to Zaccheus and said, “’Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’ And he hurried and came down, and received Him gladly.” (Luke 19:5-6) Hmm. Zaccheus didn’t rush home to clean before he opened the door for Jesus. Zaccheus didn’t frantically sweep things under the rugs or into closets so that Jesus wouldn’t notice them. Apparently, Zaccheus didn’t have anything in his home that he didn’t want Jesus to see, so last minute preparations were unnecessary. The Bible simply says that he received Jesus gladly.

What if Jesus came to my house today? Am I ready for him? Well, the floors are shining. The carpet is freshly vacuumed. There are no dust bunnies or cobwebs. The dishes and laundry are neatly tucked away in the proper places. The beds are made. The closets are neatly organized. There are no hidden high chairs in the corners. Everything looks as if it is in order. The question is, does Jesus really care about any of this? Will He look at my baseboards? Will He check out my ceilings? Will he run a gloved finger across my coffee table? Will He peer inside my closets? These questions are absurd. The only rooms that Jesus will be looking into are those in my heart. The only clutter with which He will be concerned will be that which squeezes Him out. The only dirt that will bother Him will be that which glorifies me rather than Him. It doesn’t really matter whether my house is prepared or not. The readiness of my heart is what will or will not welcome Him.

What do I need to do to be prepared for Jesus' return? Is believing in Him enough? Technically, it is. Salvation comes through faith, not by works. Yet for me, believing is the springboard for a deep, personal relationship with Christ in which I seek Him, serve Him, and glorify Him. I need to make Him a priority in my life, so that being a Christian is not something I do, but rather who I am. So I seek Him daily through Bible study and prayer. These two activities are inextricably intertwined for me. God has shown me that if I only spend time in His Word, I gain intellectual knowledge of Him, but I don’t feel a relationship with Him. If I only spend time in prayer, I feel an emotional connection to Him, but I don’t really know Him. However, when I spend time doing both, I have a complete relationship with Him, a relationship in which I know Him, I see Him, I feel Him, I talk to Him, and in which He responds to me. When I study and pray, I not only focus on Christ but I become more Christ-like. That’s how I will be prepared for Christ. That’s how I will be able to welcome Him upon His return without any last minute preparations, without scurrying about to hide things which I don’t want Him to see, and without feeling shameful about what he’ll find when He looks into the rooms of my heart.

With the tune to the Zaccheus song still running through my mind, I am reminded that Jesus will return without any forewarning. I must be ready when Jesus says, “Vicki, I’m going to your house today.” As I type this, I quickly glance around my office. There's not a speck of dust to be found. Just to prove to myself that I can let it go, I drop some papers on the floor and disarrange my desk. I should take a photo of this. My kids will never believe it. 

Off I go. My home may not need a spring-cleaning, but my heart certainly does. As did Zaccheus, I want to be ready to welcome Jesus gladly.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Painter of My Soul

April is National Poetry Month, so I though I'd dabble with free verse. Here's my offering for today.

Painter of My Soul
by Vicki Scott Burns

This canvas
each thread woven by Your hand
tattered and tainted by mine
unworthy of the easel

Yet touched by grace
threads humbly yield
to pigments pure, unstained
the palette of salvation

Refining brushstrokes 
intimate, resolute
layer after layer
until transformation is complete

Human eyes
upon this portrait
perfection fail to see
unto itself, the canvas scarred and shamed appears

But by the Master of the brush
eternal beauty is beheld
the Portraitist shall not 
turn His gaze away

Painter of my soul
are You
to me

Copyright © 2014 by Vicki Scott Burns and by Bibleshareware.org, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hardly Recognizable


In my previous post, I posed this question: whom do you serve? I offer this post for further reflection.

Hardly Recognizable
by Vicki Scott Burns 

Poised at her dressing table
she glams herself like a beauty queen
adding layer after layer
‘til the transformation is complete
Then perched on a lonely barstool
You can hardly recognize
the woman hidden there, somewhere behind her eyes
She knew You once, but then set You aside…

He’s out the door by 6 AM
no time to see the wife or kids
An indentured corporate servant
his life is no longer his
As he climbs the corporate ladder
You can hardly recognize
the man hidden there, somewhere behind his eyes
He knew You once, but then set You aside

Bit by bit they start to falter
step by step they start to fall
until they are hardly recognizable at all

As I stumble through life’s hallways
the floors are littered with my sin
I keep tripping over idols
that I treasure deep within
Before I reach my destination
I'd like to recognize
the holiness of God reflected in my eyes
I know you, Lord—but I set You aside

Bit by bit I start to falter
step by step I start to fall
In me, are You recognizable at all?
It’s gonna take a bit of work
it’s gonna take a bit of time
before the world can clearly recognize
the image of the Savior in my eyes
so that I am hardly recognizable at all
Copyright © 2006 by Vicki Scott Burns and by Bibleshareware.org, IncAll rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Whom Do You Serve?

The “1872 Rules for Teachers” 
(Author Unknown)

Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.

Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day's session.

Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.

Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.

After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.

Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.

Every teacher should lay aside from each day’s pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.

Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.

The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and" without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.

These rules are posted in historic schoolhouses across the country. Though they elicit a chuckle from most of us, they testify to an undeniable truth: society has always had rules regarding appropriate behavior. Adam and Eve were told not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge. Moses presented the Ten Commandments to the Israelites. Even in current times, laws define acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Yet courtrooms are constantly active and prisons are filled beyond capacity because people fail to behave appropriately.

The New Testament writers—and Paul in particular—went to great lengths to describe appropriate Christian conduct. They repeatedly emphasized that Christians should know whom they serve: the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is when people serve themselves that their behavior becomes inappropriate. The bottom line is this: as is evidenced by your behavior, whom do you serve?

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Your Melody


Your Melody

by Vicki Scott Burns

Sound asleep, before daybreak
Familiar stirrings once again
Suddenly I’m wide awake
As reverential tunes begin
These words of mine cannot wait
I must reveal what stirs within
You are touching me, moving my heart to sing
May I be Your melody…

With each line my spirit molds
Throughout the chorus of this day
With each measure truth unfolds
As my heart Your fingers play
Your notes resound in my soul
Each one takes my breath away
You are composing me, moving my life to sing
May I be Your melody…

My fingers dance across this keyboard
My notes are words on pages white
I close my eyes and lose myself in reverie…

Wrapped up in these melodies
Since You marked me as Your own
Someday I’ll be the harmony
For angels singing ‘round Your throne
Keep making music out of me
Until You finally play me Home
I am Your instrument, play Your symphony in me
May I be Your melody…

May I always be
a holy melody


Copyright © 2005 by Vicki Scott Burns and by Bibleshareware.org, IncAll rights reserved.

Friday, March 7, 2014

God Loves Me, This I KNOW

In March 1987, I gave birth to my second child, Kyle. He appeared to be a perfect, normal baby. Several hours later, it became apparent that something was horribly wrong. Doctors discovered that Kyle had a coarctation—a narrowing of the aorta as it branched off of his heart. This coarctation caused excessive strain on his heart and poor circulation to his extremities. Surgery was the only option.

The next day, Kyle’s surgery lasted five hours instead of the anticipated two. Consequently, Kyle was on a heart-lung machine, was “iced down,” and received oxygen for much longer than he should have. However, the doctors felt that the operation had been successful and that Kyle would go home approximately two weeks later.

Things did not proceed as planned. Because he had been iced down for such an extended period of time, Kyle’s kidneys had failed and his lower body was paralyzed. The high oxygen content he had received had probably caused blindness. Most significantly, his heart was exhausted. The harsh reality was that Kyle was going to die.

I bent down and kissed his tiny, precious forehead. My voice quivered as I told him that I loved him. He opened his eyes and looked at me. That was the one and only time he looked at anyone. His gaze pierced my heart and soul. Although I was not a believer at the time, I knew that God had kept Kyle alive to give me that moment.

Two hours later, Kyle went into cardiac arrest. CPR is routinely performed for 30 minutes before death is pronounced. After 25 minutes, and after watching Kyle’s heart and brain activity nearly stop, I asked the doctor to cease the CPR. I had never held Kyle, and I wanted to do so while he was still alive. I wanted him to die in the comfort and warmth of my arms rather than on a cold, hard table. I held him close, memorizing every detail about him. Five minutes later, I felt his last breath upon my face. The inconceivable had happened: my son had died. Little did I know that Kyle’s death would bring me to life.

For the next eighteen months, I was filled with an overwhelming anger and hatred towards God. Yet through that dark period, the memory of Kyle’s last breath upon my face stirred something deep within me. After a series of events well orchestrated by God, I walked into the 13th week of a 14-week Bible study. That morning, I discovered that God sent His Son to die on a cross simply because He loved me. God used that truth to draw me closer to Him, until I could no longer resist the magnetic pull of His love. Kyle’s death—the most painful event of my life—turned out to be my life’s greatest blessing because it led me to Christ. There are many things in this world that I will never know or understand, but this one thing I know: God loves me.

Today, as I commemorate the 27th anniversary of Kyle's death, I must admit that I still grieve. Not a single day passes without me thinking about Kyle and wishing that I could hold him for just a moment. Although my arms may be empty, my heart and soul are full because I trust in and cling to the promises God has made to me.

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

"By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:9-10) 

God expressed His love for me by sending Jesus to die for me.

"and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

When I experience my final homecoming, I will be reunited with Kyle. My arms will no longer be empty and I will no longer grieve.

Do you know that God loves you? Despite the circumstances of your life—the things you have felt, thought, said, done, and experienced—God sent Jesus to die on the cross for you simply because He loves you. Step into today with an open heart so that you, too, may truly know that God loves you.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Bibleshareware.org, Inc. and by Vicki Scott Burns. All rights reserved. www.Bibleshareware.org

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Free Falling into Jesus


Today would have been Kyle's 27th birthday. Every year on this day, I take time to reflect upon how far I've come in my walk with Jesus since March 4, 1987. I didn't know Jesus at the time. Quite frankly, I could not have cared less about Him. I was happy and thought my life was pretty grand. Why in the world would I need Jesus? I simply couldn't imagine why.

Kyle died in my arms when he was three days old. As you may imagine, my world came to a screeching, excruciating halt. Not only did I not think I needed Jesus, but I was downright angry at God. I hated God. I shook my fists and cursed God. I would rather have found myself in my own grave than let God have any place in my life. The ironic thing was that I was already buried in Kyle's grave. I felt dead and was sure that life would never be breathed back into me.

My heart and mind could not reconcile Kyle's death. I searched and searched for the meaning of it. Kyle's grave felt like the only tangible piece I had left of him and I simply could not keep myself from touching it every single day for a year. Somehow I thought that I could only be close to Kyle in that particular place, and that feeling close to him would eventually help me find my way out of the nightmare that had become my life.

God has a funny way of meeting us right where we need Him. I often walked silently among the gravestones. So many of them were adorned with passages of Scripture. My empty, aching heart and arms are what led me to the graveyard. Being there led me to those Scripture passages. Those passages set me upon a quest to figure out why God had taken my son away from me. Needless to say, God's plan all along was to lead me right back to Him. And lead me He did. (If you want to read my story, either scroll down to the very first post or click here.)

Every year on Kyle's birthday, I try to find a special way to celebrate him. I usually express myself in words which, I hope, will both honor Kyle and give glory to God for what He accomplished in me through Kyle. Below is this year's offering. Perhaps it will speak to your heart. I pray that it does. 

Free Fall
by Vicki Scott Burns

“Time heals all wounds,” that’s what they say
But I just don’t think it’s true
My heart got buried in a grave
With a tiny box of blue
I found myself
Falling in a free fall
Falling in so deep
Falling in a free fall
Falling down upon my knees
Free fall

The pages on the calendar
Keep on flipping one by one
But on this day most every year
I still start to come undone
I find myself
Falling in a free fall
Falling in so deep
Falling in a free fall
Falling down upon my knees
Free fall

Fallen down upon my knees
Is the only place where I can stand
Held up by the mercy of Your plan...

“Cast your burdens,” that’s what You say
“Let Me heal your broken heart.”
‘Cause when You rose from Your own grave
The sting of death was torn apart
So I could find myself
Falling in a free fall
Falling in so deep
Falling in a free fall
Into arms that rescued me
Free fall

Falling in a free fall
Falling in so deep
Falling in a free fall
Into love that set me free
I still find myself
Falling in a free fall
Falling in so deep
Falling in a free fall
Falling in so deep
I’m falling, falling, falling
I am free
Free fall

Copyright © 2014 by Bibleshareware.org, Inc. and by Vicki Scott Burns. All rights reserved. www.Bibleshareware.org