Wednesday, September 21, 2016

ThiS is My SoNg

It is quite funny to recall that Sunday morning service. A couple years ago as I was singing during worship, I watched a man in the pew before me, do something peculiar. He and his wife were singing along, as I was, when it became evident he wished they were a couple more pews ahead. He reached up toward to his hearing aid and turned the knob. My guess is, he was turning it down. He was tuning me down. On this day, my singing was a bit too much for the elderly man and his wife. I smiled about it then and laugh about it now. It's true, I can sometimes get loud. I get it honest - being raised on a softball field with the loudest mother on the bleachers.

What if, instead of laughing, I decided to never sing in worship again? That would be me, sEEkiNg to PLeAsE someone less than God. I would be worshiping, suppressed by the reality that not everyone (probably not most) desires to hear me sing at the crest of my lungs. But what of God? How would He respond if I laid aside my loud worship to Him, because it wasn't pleasing to OthErS? That would be service and worship to something less than the only God deserving of it. 

Let me gEt to the GriT. 
This post isn't really about my literal singing in church. It's about me siNgiNg my real sOnG. Here's what I mean. I heard a song recently, which I had heard dozens of times. This time was different. I caught a line of the tune I had never recognized before. Here is what the artist sang ". . . singing my heart is one of my dreams."* It was overwhelming - so much so that I text my husband in excitement. Those words left me realizing; what was in my heart, was a different kind of sOnG.  The artist's words brought to life, what I had been claiming for years."I just want to get all that's in my heart... OuT! The lyrics struck me into the realization that WoRdS are the song that I pour my heart into. WriTiNg is my sOnG.

I desire to wRiTe my HeArT. I've known this for a while, but never wanted to admit it to much of anyone. Afraid I guess, of many things internally, but also afraid of the critics and the skeptics. Catch the hypocrisy? I do. The reality of NoT writing because of disapproval, is the same as writing (or singing)  FoR approval.

So here is just a glimpse of the journey I've so far endured toward pouring out my heart. It's been at times, a struggle. Even warfare if you would believe. But has also filled my heart with peace and blessings. 
                      Successes and defeats.
              Blessing and not-so much blessings.
                                  Encouragements and discouragements. 
                           Approval and disapproval. 
The adventure toward my desire of wRiTiNg my HeArT has provoked glimpses of heaven, and the wrath of a portion of hell. But here is me, still. I just CaN't gEt aWaY FrOm iT. Bound, if you will, to the portion God allotted to me. Pleasing to critics or not-so much, it's my duty. Christ used the word "duty" to remind His servants of something I've just begun to realize was mine to claim . . . 

"when you have done all those things which are commanded you, say, 
'We are unprofitable servants; 
we have done that which was our duty to do'" 
(Luke 17:10).

That which is our duty. 
This which is mine. 
We are to worship and serve God, not according to the pleasure of others but according to His pleasure! Seeking the aPPrOvaL of CriTiCs is simply seeking against God. Against our duty.

Oliver Wendell Holmes once stated 
"Many people die with their music still in them. . ." 
He was also wise enough to realize why this is the reality of some. . . 
"too often it is because they are getting ready to live. . ."

Ever been stuck in "getting ready to live"? If you are like me, you have for tOO long. There's no better time than NoW to move beyond "I'm going to". So let's bring this home to you. I gotta ask, "wHaT is YoUr sOnG?" What is that thing you do, which you know for certain God created as your dUtY? What is it that you are sometimes skepticized and criticized for, but compelled to do anyway? 

In other words, "WhAt's StiLL iN YoU?" 
          Whatever it is, pour it out. 
                    Don't miss yOuR sOnG. 

If we aren't stewards of God's time, we will miss the chance to sing. And if we aren't careful, we will miss enjoying someone else's song because we were too busy being critics. I am too old to waste God's time, so I find the words of Solomon ringing true in my days.

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; 
for there is no work, or device, or knowledge, or wisdom, 
in the grave, where you go. 
(Ecclesiasties 9:10 modified) 

This journey is one toward the grave and I still have something to siNg before I get there!
       So, this is mE,
              siNgiNg My sOnG.
        Are you singing yours?

# HaShTag ReHaSheS #


 * Reflective Rehashes * 

Have-Ta Ask: If you haven't already asked yourself - "What is yOuR song?".

Praisin' God Today: God, thank you for fashioning me toward a particular dUtY! Thank you that you equipped me to complete something for your Kingdom and that I can enjoy the process of serving you through singing my own song! You are my Creator and Sustainer - thank you for the opportunity to serve and worship you.

Askin' God Today: God, give me the knowledge to know my song and the cOuRaGe to sin it. Help me to remember that through my duty, I glorify you and that is where I am validated. Give me strength to do as you have created me and to work hard for you.

Soakin' Up Scripture: Psalm 103:15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and the place where it was shall know it no more. (KJV modified).

* Brandon Heath's song: "Wait and See"  * Scripture is KJV, modified.

Friday, September 9, 2016

As the EaGLe FLiEs

We all know the saying. The old and common saying... "as the crow flies." It's an expression that pronounces the short distance a crow would have to fly, compared to the distance one usually travels on a road, to a destination. Crows are likely the least glorious of birds. They are simple in color and pesky in gardens. But have you ever watched an eagle in its glory? Their flight and their nests are in extremely high places. The highest nest I have ever seen was an eagle's nest that looked like it would almost reach the sky. It was glorious. Eagles live and fly with a stature that is recognized and respected. It's no wonder Jeremiah uses an eagles nest as a sobering illustration to those who had strayed in their hearts.

Your terribleness has deceived you, and the pride of your heart, 
O you that dwell in the clefts of the rock, that holds the height of the hill: 
although you should make your nest as high as the eagle, 
I will bring you down from there, says the LORD. 
Jeremiah 49:16  (KJV, my modification) 

Ouch. Surely these words could be taken harshly. But they are true and valid. Pride is something to be spoken against, with firm conviction. God uses an illustration of a high-flying and powerful bird to speak caution to his people. But why so harsh? Because pride is destructive. It is the element of evil which caused the angelic ruler Lucifer, to fall from his position. Lucifer inherited the name Satan as he fell like lightening from heaven (Luke 10:18). He fell from his high nest, because he desired to build his nest tOO high. Scripture says he intended to build his throne as high as the Most High God (Isaiah 14: 12-14) Satan's choice of naming God as the MoSt High, reveals that he instinctively knew the Highest thrown was already occupied.

A prideful heart is one that sEEks iTs OwN will and gLoRy. A prideful heart is one set against its Maker. God knows the results of pride in the hearts of His people, so through Jeremiah, God was reminding us of another saying we have likely heard : there is always "pride before the fall." When humans fly high, we are flying independently, to our own beat, and as high as we like. That is arrogance at its worst. But the higher we fly in our own hearts, the farther we fall to the reality of the Most High.

In other words. . .
            "As the EaGLe FLiEs . . . so he falls."

Pride is the opposite in stature to recognizing God's authority. Recognizing God's authority, is to fear Him. But don't turn away yet - I'm not speaking of a cowering fear or being afraid. What God intends by "fearing" Him, is not to be afraid of Him. My son once explained what it means to fear God. His words were something to the tone of ... respect His authority. To fear God is simply to respect Him and to be sUbjEcT to His leading. It is to do what Lucifer did not: to recognize our humanity in contrast to God's inhumanity. God desires that we turn our hearts from pride because a heart set toward Him produces fruit.

Proverbs 19:23  
"The fear of the LORD leads to life, 
and he who has it will live in satisfaction . . ."

Respecting His authority is simply recognizing, that the position of MoSt High is aLrEaDy TaKeN. Recognizing God's authority helps us remain in correct proximity to Him. * God above all. * Humans in subjection to that reality. And as humans, we have two options in being subject to the Most High.
            Be humble,
                     or be humbled.

A heart set with its Maker is one rEaDy to listen and WiLLiNg to obey. The God who LoVeS us as His own, DeSiRes the BeSt for His own. And humble hearts are His desire, because HuMbLe hearts cling to their Most High God.

# HaShTag ReHaShEs #


Have-ta ask: What does my heart look like to the Most High God? Is there pride hiding in the depths that keeps me out of surrender and appropriate proximity to God?

Praisin' God today: Thank you God for your magnitude, for you are above all things.

Askin' God today: God, (MoSt High) search my heart and bring to light, any glimpse of pride. Remind me daily of Your infallibility and my human position of "hum"ility. Keep my heart sUbjEcT to you today.

Soakin' up Scripture:  Ephesians 4:6 - One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

* Thanks mom, for clarifying the old saying :) 
* A little crow research :

Friday, September 2, 2016

For the Sake of FaiTh

Is it safe to say you wouldn't take a fishing pole to a pond that had no fish? I'm fairly certain that would be a massive waste of time, and bait. And if you took your children along, you may have some unhappy kiddos on your hands. We would all profess that it's not extremely wise to expect fish in a pond that has none. Can we also agree that it's not wise to eXpeCt something, where there is nOtHiNg?

Faith is the opposite. It is the substance of things we hope for, the conviction of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1). To live by faith, is to believe in God's power and promises. It is to go to the pond, expecting. God's sToRy tells us what we should expect to experience. Faith itself is nurtured by knowing God's story, then experiencing it in our own. Is it possible we often forget God because we aren't in Scripture, which reveals His story? In that case, we often leave our faith to expect nothing. That's like going to the pond with pole and bait, but no FaiTh.

Our belief in who Christ is, what He has done, and what He promises, is measured only by what we have seen of Him in Scripture and what He has proven in our lives, based on Scripture. Faith is expecting to encounter the power described in His sToRy. Our sToRy is where we put what we know about God, into action, by knowing what He CaN do, believeing He wiLL, and recognizing when He dOeS. Shortly spoken: If we don't know the story of God's power and promises, we can't believe in His ability to work in ours.

When we forget the Word, we find ourselves with little to expect by faith.
       No sToRy.
            No FaiTh. 
But if we know the Word , we can watch great things pRoVe His pRomiSes.

So, for the SaKe of FaiTh, know God's sToRy.
Then grab your pole and bait, and  let your faith
prove His promises in yOuRs.

HaShTag ReHaSheS


     We have-ta ask: What hill-topping faith-moments could you be missing in your sToRy because you don't know His?

     Praisin' God today: Praise God for Scripture and the powerful promises revealed there.

     Askin' God today: Ask God to give you a craving for and dedication to reading His Word. Then ask God to build your faith, by opening your heart to the power and promises in His sToRy, and delight in the unveiling of His truth within the moments of your sToRy.

     Soakin' up Scripture:  [Jeremiah 15:16] Your words were found, and I did eat them, and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by your name, O LORD God of hosts. (KJV, my modification)