Sunday, February 26, 2012

Worship Song Sunday -- Create In Me, by Mary Rice Hopkins

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with a willing spirit ~ Psalm 51:10-12, ASV

Allow no one but our Master Creator to create a pure and clean heart within us. May this be the song of our hearts to our gracious, loving Father -- today and every day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To Fast Or Not To Fast

And so the Lord says, 
      “These people say they are Mine. 
   They honor Me with their lips, 
      but their hearts are far from Me. 
   And their worship of Me 
    is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. ~ Isaiah 29:13, NLT

Yesterday, I posted about the upcoming Lenten season and what I understood -- or more like misunderstood -- it to be.  I had such a warped vision of what God expected of me during this season.  Or perhaps it's better said, what God desired from me.

With regards to fasting,  I’ve come to realize over the years that this is not something to ever be entered into lightly or done mindlessly or out of guilt, fear, ritual or pressure. Lenten fasting -- or any other type of Christian fasting -- should never be viewed by me or by anyone else as just some church denomination’s ancient ritual, nor should we, as I once heard in a sermon, make ourselves into miserable people observing a miserable tradition.  

Instead, we should see Lent as a reordering and a ‘spring cleaning,’ if you will, of our lives. It’s a challenge and an acknowledgment that we are not yet what we are to be; a preparation for our ultimate transformation as followers of Christ, as well as a very personal offering and intimate act of love and worship between ourselves and the Lord.  

God wants my heart!!
I'm learning it's less about tradition and a sense of duty and more about my motive; more about my having a sincere, heart's desire to become more open to God's presence and my ears more attuned to His voice; more about drawing nearer to and becoming more intimate with God as a result of my putting aside those things that I often crave more than Him.  

And just what ARE those things that I crave and desire more than God?

A few years ago, while in one of my ugly self-righteous, Pharisee modes, I found myself looking at giving up things for Lent like chocolate, coffee, junk food, etc., as lame.  Kind of dumb and childish. Like, 'Gee, does God REALLY care whether or not I eat this 3 Musketeers bar? Why deny myself such a little thing?  And hey, isn't self-denial a form of punishment anyway?'  

But I recently came across a quote, again from the Lynne Baab book, 'Fasting,' from a 30 something teacher named Lisa whom Baab interviewed.  She said this:

"Denying myself something that I use for comfort is a great reminder of my desire to keep my relationship with God as my first and foremost priority.  Fasting challenges me to keep a perspective of Who I'm living for at all times of the day."  

Wow.  Speaking strictly for myself, I too often do use chocolate, coffee, junk food for comfort.  When I should be seeking comfort from God.  I'll admit I'm guilty of using Facebook to seek validation and relevance for myself from other people.  When I should be seeking those things  from God.  Because my relationship with Him is to be my foremost priority in life. Because He is my First Love.

So, when I choose to fast or abstain or however you want to refer to it, from something -- be it a particular food or drink or sweets; an activity, routine or a habitual indulgence - I do so NOT to prove to myself and everyone around me that I am strong enough to deny myself and make this 'great' sacrifice; I do so NOT to punish myself for some 'bad behavior' and  certainly not with the mindset that I can force God to give me or do something I want. 

No, when I fast, it should be out of a desire to greatly lower the volume on the constant noise around me and to remove the continuous distractions in my life, enabling me to spend more time talking with AND listening to God throughout my day (and really, that's what prayer is), allowing for that greater, more intimate relationship with Him.  And when I do fast from something, especially if it is from a meal, be it once or twice a week or even one particular meal a day, I need to utilize the time I'd spend eating or doing that activity by spending that time alone with God.  Because if I don't, it's just meaningless.  

So, some of the deeper, pertinent questions I’ve been asking myself lately have been:

* What have I firmly placed in top priority status, thereby knocking Jesus out of first place in my life?
*What things (foods, drinks, material possessions, body image,) do I obsess over? What activities (working out, blogging, shopping), what distractions (Facebook, Internet surfing, TV shows) and what desires (need for praise, approval, acknowledgment, love) have I allowed to totally consume me and to stand in the way of my daily communication with Jesus?   

*What idols need to be cast down completely or at least brought way down to the bottom of the totem pole status?

*What sins have I allowed to continually trip me up and entangle me and ruin my relationship with the Lord, breaking His heart and grieving His Spirit? What do I need to repent of?

*How best can I honor Christ with my life during these next 40 days?  What do I need to be doing or refrain from doing? 

Right now, I'm still praying about all of this.  

The Word of God tells me there is so much more to this challenge of Lent in Isaiah 1:11-15; in Isaiah 58:6-14 (and OH what a magnificent portion of Scripture this is!); in Psalm 51:10-12 & 16-17; in Joel 2:13; and finally, in Hebrews 13:15-16. As He always has, God longs for us to be in a loving relationship with Him, to love and be loved by Him.  

While the season of Lent is considered to be a somber, more serious time of preparation than Advent, it can also be a blessed, joyful time of intentionally seeking out Jesus, embarking on a journey to befriend or strengthen our relationship with the living Christ.  May it be so for you, should you choose to partake.

'Fasting has every bit as much to do with the attitude of the heart as it does to what is actually given up in the fast.' ~ from 'Fasting,' by Lynne M. Baab

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ashes to Ashes

This coming Wednesday, February 22, will mark the beginning of the season of Lent.   On this day, Ash Wednesday, many will attend a church service where ashes, which come from burnt palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday, will be distributed.  Making a sign of the cross with the ashes on each person's forehead, the priest, pastor, elder or whomever is permitted in the particular church to do so, will repeat these words:

"Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return." 

The meaning behind the distribution of ashes and those words is to remind us of our own mortality and our own sinfulness, while calling us to repentance.  Many people will leave the ashes on their foreheads for the entire day as a symbol of humility.  

Lent is also a season that centers around fasting, generally from a particular food, drink or even an activity, for the forty days before Easter.  Growing up in my former faith denomination, when Lent came around, we were required to fast from something.  So for me at that time, this was merely a ritual I took part in because I HAD to, it was just what you did (or else).  But author Lynn Baab, author of 'Fasting,' speaks of fasting like this:

"We remove something habitual so we can experience something new.  We long for the fullness of God's presence, so we remove something from our life for a season in order to get a glimpse of God, through prayer, in a new way."

At that time, I had no true understanding or view of Lent as being a way for me to draw closer to the heart of God, or as a way of something new about Him being revealed to me. Again, it was simply a tradition to be followed. 

For instance, with regards to Lenten fasting, I’d give up chocolate candy (my personal childhood favorite, which continues to be a guilty pleasure of mine) for those forty days, whine about it the whole time and then on Easter Sunday, I’d gorge myself on chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs until I made myself sick. The condition of my heart, however, remained unchanged: cold, hard, shallow, dark, sinful.  Jesus just wasn’t the priority in my life that He should have been -- and longed to be.  He became merely a blip on my Sunday morning church's or Wednesday afternoon catechism class's radar screen. The beautifully, sorrowful figure of a Man that actor Jeffrey Hunter portrayed in "King of Kings."

Meanwhile, in my warped view, God was that heavenly Father figure Who was always trying to catch me in some act of disobedience and of Whom I was completely terrified, while the Holy Spirit remained this mysterious, ghostly figure to me. Casper sanctified. 

So I did my Lenten duty like the good girl that I was and checked the box "Done" forty days later. My parents were pleased. The teachers from my catechism classes were pleased. But....was the Lord pleased? I’m thinking not so much.

Yes, over the years, Lenten fasting sadly turned out being a torturous duty and drudgery for me; certainly not something I looked forward to and delighted in doing.  Also, for me, there was an underlying theme of fear running through it, especially if one had the misfortune of forgetting oneself and accidentally popped a forbidden food or drink into one's mouth in the midst of the Lenten season.

True confession time here, dear readers.  Once, during Lent, when I was twelve years old, I went to lunch with my older cousin, Charlene.  She ordered a few slices of pizza for herself, while I, not in the mood for pizza,  decided to order an Italian hot dog (and for those of you not from NJ and unfamiliar with this delicacy, it is a hot dog on an Italian roll, smothered with peppers, onions and potatoes). 

It wasn't until after I'd inhaled every last tasty morsel and we were both standing in the parking lot, ready to leave, that the harsh and frightening realization set in:

I had just eaten meat on a Friday during Lent!  

And -- not just ANY  Friday.

But Good Friday!!!!!! 

Needless to say, I became hysterical.  I waited for the skies above to immediately cloud over, for thunder to roar loudly and for God Himself to appear to personally hurl down a hand picked lightening bolt straight at my sinful, preteen head.  Or for the ground to dramatically split open around me, swallow me up and send me hurtling down the fast lane on the Highway to Hell, where I was surely headed after this major Lenten gaffe. 

I tearfully begged my cousin NOT to tell my parents what I had done, how low I had fallen, as I imagined them possibly disowning me or my getting to be the first in my family to be excommunicated from our church.  I feared I'd done what a friend of mine's family (who was rumored to have Mafia ties) used to laughingly warn him not to do: 'Don't disgrace the family.'

I can laugh about this whole scenario now, but really, it's kind of pathetic, because truly, this is NOT how our Father, Who loves us so much, wants us to perceive Him and react towards Him (like some angry, Holy Cop wielding His Divine taser gun), and it's most certainly NOT the way He wants us to view the season of Lent and our place within it.

So, now that I'm older and (hopefully) wiser, what does the season of Lent mean for me? What do I need to take away from or to add to my life, allowing me to focus more intently and joyfully and seriously on my Jesus? How can I prepare myself to hear His voice more clearly, to better understand and to accept anew His messages to me of His unconditional, unfailing love, His amazing grace, His perfect peace, His new-every-day mercies, His complete forgiveness?

Tomorrow, I look forward to being able to share some thoughts and insights with you all about this.  I hope you'll stop by.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Worship Song Sunday -- There is None Like You, by Hillsong

Who is like the LORD our God, 
   the One who sits enthroned on high, 
  who stoops down to look 
   on the heavens and the earth?

   He raises the poor from the dust 
   and lifts the needy from the ash heap; 
  He seats them with princes, 
   with the princes of His people. 
  He settles the childless woman in her home 
   as a happy mother of children. ~ Psalm 113:5-9

There is none like You, O LORD.  And we worship You for Who You are!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Saved By Grace

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. ~ Romans 3:21-23, NIV

Ever since entertainer Whitney Houston passed away, almost one week ago, rumor-filled stories of the way she died and gossipy tales of how she lived abound in the news.  

At the grocery store yesterday, my eye caught the Newark Star Ledger touting headlines something along the lines of: 'The Sacred Being Made Into A Circus.'   

And today, that same newspaper's online headlines announced: 'Whitney Houston Funeral To Be A Star Studded Event.'

Yes, no matter where you go -- television, online news feeds, newspapers, magazines, Facebook, blogs -- you can't get away from the media feeding frenzy. EVERYBODY has something to say about Whitney, be it good, bad or indifferent. And I guess you can say that now, I'm just adding to the 'noise' with my two cents.

Fans and local pastors are in an uproar because they cannot attend Whitney's funeral service at her childhood, hometown church in Newark, New Jersey, due to her family's decision to make it an 'invitation only' event.   Folks who serve or have served in the military are appalled that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has designated that American flags throughout our state be flown at half staff tomorrow, February 18, the day of her funeral, in honor of Whitney.  I can certainly understand their indignation over this, although I do not share in it.  

But I'm not here to address any of that.  I'm here to address something that someone wrote about Whitney Houston which I believe is just absolutely WRONG.

I'm not certain of where I read this.  Again, there is so much out there right now about Whitney, it may have been on someone's blog (no one's blog I actually follow, just one I happened upon) or I might have read it as a post that someone shared on Facebook.  That is unimportant.  What is important is that someone actually believes this and is spreading this lie.  Perhaps they heard it preached in their church.  

This person was questioning people (family, fans and such) who are consoling themselves with the fact that Whitney is at peace and in the presence of her Heavenly Father.  This person stated that they should NOT be doing so because more than likely, Whitney is not in God's presence at all.  They declared that she had lost her salvation because she had turned her back on God by choosing drugs over Him.  

Ok, whoa, WHOA, WHOA!!!  Stop right there, someone hit the Rewind button!!!!

SAY WHAT????!!!!

I make no apologies for stating that this is SUCH a load of malarkey!!! To me, this is appalling.    Really!!! 

Appalling because, if this is so for Whitney, then it stands to reason it is true for everyone. True for me.  True for you.

Again, I have no clue as to where this person came by such a belief; perhaps, as I said, they heard it preached at their church.  But this is a false teaching!

Now, I didn't know Whitney Houston personally, so I have no idea if she surrendered her life to Jesus Christ.  I've learned that just because someone goes to church and sings in the church choir doesn't necessarily mean they are followers of Christ.  I can say this because I lived this way for many years. I grew up singing in the choir and was a pew warmer extraordinaire for over half my life.  

But, for the sake of argument, let's say that Whitney had surrendered all to Jesus and she was His follower, despite the fact that she battled a drug addiction for some years (and let's 'judge not, lest ye be judged' here because believe me -- everyone is battling something).  She was offered and accepted the free gift of salvation -- free to her (and to us), but at great cost to Jesus: purchased with the shedding of His precious blood on the cross.  If this is so, we would consider Whitney Houston 'saved.'   Saved by grace.  The apostle Paul makes it ever so clear in Ephesians 2:4-8 ~

'But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God....'

We are saved by grace, a gift from God.  Yet are we to believe that if we 'mess up' in life -- as Whitney we all do -- our loving, Abba, about Whom James says 'does not change like shifting shadows' (James 1:17), about Whom Balaam declares in the Book of Numbers ' not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind' (Numbers 23:19),  and Who Himself says in the Book of Malachi "For I the LORD do not change," (Malachi 3:6)  -- are we to believe God will change His mind and snatch back that awesome gift??  I just cannot wrap my brain around this mindset. 

Because really, if we are honest with ourselves -- we will admit that we all 'mess up' in life, many of us on a regular basis.  And that's why there are Christian counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists available to us; that's why there are Christian support groups like 'Celebrate Recovery' popping up in so many churches.  Because we are a fallen, flawed people, saved by grace, yet still in a battle with some temptation, some addiction, some sin in our lives, threatening to take us down.  

'Calvary,' by Stephen Sawyer
The enemy of our souls would love for us to believe that our salvation can be taken away. 

I want to believe that Whitney Houston gave her life to Christ and called Him her Lord and Savior somewhere along the way in life, so despite the fact that her addiction to drugs ended her life, she found herself in the arms of Jesus.  Truly, I do. So I cannot speak the following truth to her.

But -- perhaps there is someone reading this today who believes or knows and loves someone who believes that their salvation can be taken away.  That in the midst of their battle with some sin or addiction, God will come along and snatch back His gift of salvation, His gift of amazing grace and unending, everlasting love. That in essence, God is what they used to call back in my day 'an Indian giver.' 

I am no learned preacher or educated theologian, but I am here to say:

Please DO NOT believe the lie!!!

My pastor has preached and taught on this subject many, many times. And interestingly enough, I recently heard a sermon podcast which addressed this very subject!  I'd like to share some of what I learned from it:

*For those who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, NOTHING can hijack their salvation.  Grace always triumphs!  

*Jesus's death paid for our sins.  Sins we could never pay for ourselves.

*Don't cheapen grace.  Our sins cannot undo Jesus's work by His death on the cross at Calvary and His resurrection from the grave three days later. Because if that were so, then NONE of  us has ANY guarantee of eternal life with our Savior.

And finally, this statement:

*Jesus's death either pays for ALL sin, or it doesn't pay for ANY sin.  

So, regarding the above statement, let me ask you now:

Which do YOU believe?

Believe that you are saved by grace.  That you are safely in the hand of God and NOTHING can snatch you out of His hand.  Nothing.

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace ~ Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone), by Chris Tomlin

Thursday, February 16, 2012

O My God ~ A Saint's Prayer/Poem

When I look into the future, I am frightened,
But why plunge into the future?
Only the present moment is precious to me,
As the future may never enter my soul at all.

It is no longer in my power,
To change, correct or add to the past;
For neither sages nor prophets could do that.
And so, what the past has embraced
I must entrust
To God.

O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire.
I desire to use you as best I can.
And although I am weak and small,
You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence.
Photo taken by Daniel D. Slee in Pembrey, Wales
And so, trusting in Your mercy,
I walk through life like a little child,
Offering You each day this heart
Burning with love for Your greater glory.

~  this entry entitled, 'O My God,' is taken from the book 'Divine Mercy in My Soul,'  the diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska of Poland

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Never Fails

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NASB

Today is February 14th -- the day we celebrate love.  

We celebrate it with many different things and in many different ways.  With heart shaped boxes of chocolate candy, bouquets of flowers, Vermont Teddy Bears, perfumes, edible arrangements, beautifully worded greeting cards.  With candlelight dinners for two, at home or at a fancy restaurant; taking in a special romantic movie, perhaps even going on a surprise vacation.  

So very many songs have been written about love.  The Beatles sang, 'All You Need Is Love.'  Bob Merrill wrote 'Love Makes The World Go 'Round' for the musical 'Carnival!'  Back in the day, the singing group Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers asked the musical question, 'Why Do Fools Fall In Love?', while The Monotones wondered, '(Who Wrote) The Book Of Love?' 

As far as I'm concerned, God wrote the Book of Love -- The Bible.  It's His love letter to all of us, His funny, flawed valentines.  It speaks not of a fleeting, fickle, romantic love, but of a deeply committed love.  A love big enough to encompass ALL of us.  A love so great for those created in His image that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to die a cruel, harsh death on a heavy, splintery, wooden cross.  A method of death reserved for common criminals.  He did that out of love.  For us.

An unfailing, unchanging, unconditional love.  

It's unfathomable.  It's amazing. 

It's a love we can celebrate 365 days a year, not just today, if we choose to receive it.  

It's a love that never fails.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Looking out my window,
Waiting for it --


I feel its grey heaviness in the air,
The expectation.....
That silent calm before the storm --


Finally, a few flakes here and there,
Falling gently, tenderly.....
and then --


Pure white confetti falling,
Riotously, joyfully....
onto my life's parade -- 


Now with head thrown back,
and eyes closed,
Catching frosted ivory flakes
upon my tongue.....
I'm ten again!

If only for a moment -- 


"Enjoy the little things in life....
for one day you'll look back and realize
they were the big things." ~ Robert Brault

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Power of Words

The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl. ~ Proverbs 25:11, NCV

Words - where would we be without them?

They are a vital part of our lives. We learn to speak and read, to communicate with each other by hearing and seeing words.

I have a love affair with words. Yup -- I am a “word nerd.” I love to read and, like the true nerd that I am, I’m thrilled when I come across words I’ve never seen or heard before. And of course, I love to write, so give me a dictionary, a thesaurus, some paper and pens or a fresh, blank laptop screen and I’m a happy camper.

No, this is not my home.  But maybe someday, I'll have a cool room with a view like this one.

Words are powerful, too. Whether they are spoken or written, words have the power to comfort, heal, encourage; to bring  joy and truth and to be a soothing balm to the wounded.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones ~Proverbs 16:24, NIV

It’s a beautiful thing to receive a love letter, isn’t it? We treasure it,  keeping it in a special place; or maybe we carry it around with us, taking it out often to read over and over, astounded that someone loves us THAT much and was able to put into words what’s in their heart. Those words can encourage us when we are downcast, calm us when we are anxious, reassure us when we are uncertain or afraid, make us laugh or cry tears of joy and perhaps brighten an otherwise dull day. That person may not be with us at the moment...they may not even live in the same town or state....but just by reading those words, our whole demeanor or outlook on life can change. It’s like a lifeline to the author of those words, making them feel near, even when they are not.

But words also have the power to hurt, deceive, discourage, frustrate, bring sorrow and fuel the raging fires that burn within.

I remember when I was growing up and would say something hurtful to someone else, but I really hadn’t meant to or didn’t realize at the time the effect those words were going to have, I’d say right away, “I take it back!” But once a hurtful word or two or twenty come out of our mouths, we can’t take them back. The same goes for written words. An irate letter or email, a hurtful diary or journal entry, a sniping, sarcastic Facebook post or comment...once written, seen or sent, it’s too late - the damage has already been done.

Rash language cuts and maims, but there is healing in the words of the wise. ~Proverbs 12:18, The Message

One of my favorite books growing up was called “Harriet The Spy.” 

Copyright 1992 by Lois Anne Moorehead
First published by Harper & Row Publishers Inc. 1964
Harriet M. Welsch is 11 years old and aspires to become both a writer and a spy. She practices for her future careers by observing her family, friends, neighbors, teachers and classmates, and writing down everything she sees and thinks in a notebook, which she takes with her everywhere. One day during a game of tag, Harriet loses her notebook and is mortified when her friends find it and read it. They’re appalled at some of the hurtful things she’s written about them. Harriet’s friends band together to form the Spy Catcher Club. The club meets almost every day to think up ways to make Harriet pay for what she wrote, including stealing her lunch and destroying her art class project. Harriet’s words have caused pain and started a campaign of meanness and revenge. Words can often do that.

We must choose our words carefully, because words have power.  They can give life or they can destroy it. They can lift up a soul or break a heart.

The words of his mouth were smoother than cream or butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. ~ Psalm 55:21, Amplified Bible

I’m simply overwhelmed by how many hurting people there are in the world…and sadly, many within the body of Christ. Over the years, I’ve heard from men and women, from ’tweens to the elderly, almost daily, who are exhausted and in pain, whose tank of hope and faith is just about empty, and who just want to give up. The lies they have received from the enemy of our souls and from negative people in their lives are reflected in the words they speak that pierce my heart when I hear them:

*No one cares
*I’m worthless
*I’m stupid
*I’m such a loser
*I have no purpose
*No one loves me
*I give up

They are desperate to hear a few simple words of affirmation, acceptance, acknowledgment and of agape love in time of need. Simple words from like-minded, compassionate, grace-filled Jesus people who speak as His ambassadors with words like:

*I understand
*I’m here for you
*I’m listening
*I care
*I’m praying for you
*You matter to me
*You are loved
*Don't give up

We need a circle of friends who are ready to come along side of us at any given time; to cry with us; to cheer us on and encourage us; to walk with us through the dark times; to offer their hand to pick us up when we’ve fallen down; to pray for us, to pick us up and carry us to Christ, when we are too weak and exhausted to run to Him ourselves. 

It's a privilege to be able to do all of the above for the precious people, male and female, whom God has placed in my life, and to have them do the same for me. What a joy and a comfort it is, knowing when I’m at the end of my rope, they are out there to offer me theirs!

The power of words from loving, godly people at just the right moment can help to bring healing, hope, comfort, strength and encouragement into our lives and into the lives of others.

There will be times when we have no idea what to say to someone who is in crisis and is hurting or grieving.  And that's when we need to look to our loving Father God and ask Him to speak for us and through us.

God's Word says this in Colossians 3:16, (NIV): "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."  And this in Ephesians 5:19 (NIRV): "Speak to each other with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs."

When our mouths are full of the Word of God and our praises of Him, there is no room in them for deadly, discouraging and damaging language.

Are we, as people of God, speaking and singing words of life, love, comfort, hope and encouragement into the lives our family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, church and coworkers? 

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." ~ Ephesians 4:29 

What are YOUR words doing today?

Every brief encounter that You send my way 
Is a chance to show the love You gave me. 
I see their troubled faces, a hunger deep inside 
But I depend on You to touch their lives. 
Light what burns within me, let Your truth shine through my life. 

Speak for me; this my plea. 
Say the words I can't express. 
Sing for me a heavenly melody 
That the people will be blessed. 
Speak for me. ~ Speak For Me, by Jaci Velasquez

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Worship Song Sunday -- Take My Life (I Am Yours), by Michael Neale

Worshiping God is a lifestyle, more so than it is an act we perform on Sunday mornings at church.  

Talia Haughn, the bass player from one of my favorite bands, Seventh Day Slumber, posted this on her facebook page the other day, and it resonated deeply with me:

"Today, I want to encourage you to see yourself as God sees you -- blemish free, forgiven & beautiful.  I challenge you to worship Him in everything you do today...from brushing your teeth, to going for a run to cleaning the kitchen....because worship really is a lifestyle. And when we treat it as one, there's no way we can miss God's direction, love and grace in our lives."


As this song states, we are God's; our lives are consecrated, set apart for Him.  Let's take on Talia's worship challenge today...and every day...give Him your life. Give Him your worship.  Living for our Lord -- however that might look for us --  is what we have been chosen and set apart to do.

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