Monday, November 16, 2009

Oh, That I Had a Thousand Voices

I recently rediscovered a hymn that spoke to my writer's heart.

When our lives are transformed through Christ's relationship with us, there aren't enough ways to express the wonders, challenges, and new discoveries.

Artists search for ways to convey something that often seems to transcend normal communication--to utter the un-utterable. This hymn captures that longing and is the song of heart these days:

"Oh, that I Had a Thousand Voices"
by Johann Mentzer, 1658-1734
Text From:
(St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1942)

1. Oh that I had a thousand voices
To praise my God with thousand tongues!
My heart, which in the Lord rejoices,
Would then proclaim in grateful songs
To all, wherever I might be,
What great things God hath done for me.

2. O all ye powers that He implanted,
Arise, and silence keep no more;
Put forth the strength that He hath granted,
Your noblest work is to adore.
O soul and body, be ye meet
With heartfelt praise your Lord to greet!

3. Ye forest leaves so green and tender,
That dance for joy in summer air;
Ye meadow grasses, bright and slender;
Ye flowers so wondrous sweet and fair;
Ye live to show His praise alone,
With me now make His glory known.

4. All creatures that have breath and motion,
That throng the earth, the sea, the sky,
Now join me in my heart's devotion,
Help me to raise His praises high,
My utmost powers can ne'er aright
Declare the wonders of His might.

5. Lord, I will tell, while I am living,
Thy goodness forth with every breath
And greet each morning with thanksgiving
Until my heart is still in death;
Yea, when at last my lips grow cold,
Thy praise shall in my sighs be told.

6. O Father, deign Thou, I beseech Thee,
To listen to my earthly lays;
A nobler strain in heaven shall reach Thee,
When I with angels hymn Thy praise
And learn amid their choirs to sing
Loud hallelujahs to my King.

Sharon Hinck

Monday, November 02, 2009

Restorer Farewell Party!!

All three Restorer books are going out of print in two weeks.

Although I feel sad of course, I'm also using this time to remember the stories, reread all the precious letters from readers, and be grateful that the stories had such a great run.

So let's celebrate! Share your favorite moment from one of the books, or something that made an impact on you, or a favorite quote.

More than any of my other books, I've received the most heartfelt mail for these stories, so I know God used them.

I remember walking with a friend week after week during the time I was writing the books. She listened to my angst as I talked about how much the stories burned in my heart, and how frustrated I was that the odds of this strange genre-blending story finding a publishing home were near impossible. She reminded me that if God had called me to write the stories, I could trust Him with what He planned to do with them.

I also remember the moments that certain plot twists just "happened" as I was writing, and took me by surprise.

The second book is my favorite. I loved watching the characters develop and deepen, and loved catching a glimpse of how the One was steering events to bring grace, hope, and help to the characters. But all three touched my life.

The stories also led me to plenty of interesting places...the Christy finalist's dinner, book tours, book clubs, college classrooms, the ACFW awards banquet...and to precious new friendships. What an adventure!

I have a limited number of books on hand, so if you want autographed copies, you can order those at Signed by the Author. They are also still available at CBD while supplies last. You can do some online Christmas shopping. :-)

Now, please share a farewell thought for the books!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I Love When God Shows Up

God is omnipresent. He is always here. Yet sometimes He opens my eyes to become more aware of Him - of specific ways that He is "showing up."

I love when God shows up.

This morning I made it to church. During the past two years of health challenges, that has been a rare treat for me. Then our pastor sheepishly shared with the congregation that he had accidentally mixed up the planned dates for sermon outlines and prepared a sermon on Romans 8, which was supposed to be next week.

Hooray! Romans 8 is absolutely PACKED with strength and comfort.

THEN, after the service, he shared that a visiting pastor with a spiritual gift of healing was available to pray with people.

(For some of you, that might be a common occurrence, but in our reserved, buttoned-up denomination it was a precious opportunity.)

As my teen daughter put it, "That was sure a God thing."

My hubby helped me forward for prayer. The words this pastor prayed over me gave me spiritual goosebumps. He specifically prayed in praise that God is able to heal that which scientists don't understand and doctors don't know how to fix. Those words of faith were exactly what I needed. More than anything, I needed the reminder that my life and health and future are completely safe in God's hands. But most of all, I'm rejoicing that God understands the cells of my body. They aren't a mystery to Him. And I know He will provide exactly what I need to accomplish His plans for my life.

Limitations have made my life very quiet and small in recent months. I've had to redefine what "my purpose" looks like. But God continues to show up. I love that about Him.

Sharon Hinck