Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I Will Rise

The last year of my life has been marked with its fair share of trials and tribulations.  The way I figured it, I had two choices: 

1.  I could sit back and crawl into a cocoon, OR
2.  I could rise up and draw closer to God than ever before

Now, on the one year anniversary of being fired from my job, I can say with 100% certainty that I am so glad that I chose the second option.  As comforting and relaxing as the cocoon sounded, I don’t believe that anyone would have grown much spiritually if I opted for it, myself specifically.

I have been reading through the book of Psalms for the past couple of weeks, and I have been absolutely blown away by the raw emotions that were continually poured out to God by the psalmists.  Let me summarize by saying that they praised and complained…a lot!  Take this one for example, “I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice” (Psalm 55:17).  But, I have found myself doing this very thing throughout the past 12 months, go figure.

Here's another one:  Psalm 6:1-“O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.”  David is literally pleading for the Lord to take it easy on him.  Or how about this one, it struck really close to home for me:  Psalm 10:1-“Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”

I find it so easy to slip into the lie that God is distant and hidden from me during the trials in my life.  Why is it that when I need to draw near to God the most do I seem to get further away?  Can I just shrug it off as human nature?  No, it is one of the down sides of having the gift of free will.  We have the free will to not seek Him.

However, on the other side of the emotion spectrum that is found in the psalms, there are moments of great peace, security and rest.  Or, as our world refers to it, Rest & Relaxation (R&R).  But, unlike the world, these psalms offer a lasting rest that can only be provided by our Lord.

Take for example Psalm 11:1-“In the Lord I take refuge”, Psalm 23:3-“He restores my soul” and Psalm 32:7-“you preserve me from trouble.”  And the one that has spoken loudest to me, Psalm 73:26-“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

It is pretty awesome to know that we serve a Lord who can continually provide us with some well needed R&R during the trials and tribulations of our lives.  All we have to do is turn to His word and seek Him so we can rest in the shadow of His wings.

And as Chris Tomlin so beautifully puts it, "Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed.  The victory is won, He is risen from the dead!"  And now, it is time for us to rise above this life, relax in His word, and find rest because He has called and labeled us as one of His own…a victorious child of God!

Here's a link to "I Will Rise" if you would like to join and "magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!" (Psalm 34:3):


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Worship Me?

So, I read something last week that I had never thought about before. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus ever say "Worship Me".  There are times where He accepted worship (examples-Matthew 28:17, Matthew 14:33), but never a time where He asked for, demanded or expected to be worshiped.  

Ugh.  I'll be honest.  Considering what I do for a living, that's a little bit of a blow to my pride. 

But you know what? He did use another 2 words quite often: 

"Follow me"  

Think about that.  Jesus wasn't looking for worshipers.  He was looking for followers.


In John 4:23 Jesus said "But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way."  

Maybe to be the true worshipers that Jesus talked about in this verse, we first need to be the true followers He was looking for.

Worship (I mean Follow) Big!


Monday, May 9, 2016

Childlike Faith...

As I was sitting at the preschool the other day, I began to think about the ways of a child. They love with all that they have, and long to be loved, at all times. They are full of adventure with this beautiful sense of wonder. It made me think of when I was a kid and my Daddy would read Matthew 18 to me. This passage is still my favorite today...

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:1-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

These children are what we should strive to be like. We should come running to the Lord with our arms wide open, clenching on for dear life, ready to trust and love. We should humble ourselves, knowing that we are not deserving of the Father’s love, yet it is given to us unconditionally. We can learn so much from these little ones. I get so tickled when they start singing songs like “Jesus Loves Me” and “The B. I. B. L. E.” They sing these songs to the top of their lungs, and they do not care who hears them! They say to me, “Miss. Savannah, come sing to me!” And that just melts my heart! I love being able to show the love of Jesus to these sweet children through song. 

I know that as members of the Praise Team, we are more often put on the spot to declare our love for Jesus than others, being that we are on stage every week. But sometimes during the week, we still hide in the corners, afraid of what someone might say if we speak too loudly.  Personally, I am striving to leave my faith out in the open-- I won't let anyone put it under a bushel! I am praying that God will renew my childlike faith, so that I can see Him as a child does. I pray that He will lead us all to be loving, trusting, forgiving, and humbled as children are, so that we can see Him with that precious childlike-wonder. 



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

To Tell You My Story is to Tell of Him...

We are all given a unique and wonderful tool as sons and daughters of Christ. We are living and breathing reminders of his grace, power, mercy and unwavering love. We are carrying the cause of Christ with us wherever we go. We are carrying “His Story”. 

One of my favorite songs is “If I told You My Story” by Big Daddy Weave:


The lyrics are a beautiful reminder that our difficult circumstances are often moments of Grace in disguise...

If I told you my story
You would hear hope that wouldn't let go
If I told you my story
You would hear love that never gave up
If I told you my story
You would hear life but it wasn't mine

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
To tell you my story is to tell of Him
If I told you my story
You would hear victory over the enemy
If told you my story
You would hear freedom that was won for me
If I told you my story
You would hear life overcome the grave
This is my story this is my song praising my Savior all the day long

When I reflect on the story that God has created for me I see extreme difficulty, hardship, pain, and heartbreak. I grew up in a home where my father chose a career as a pastor but it was not his calling.  He didn't actually have a relationship with Christ . We would have to put on our happy faces when we were outside of the home but behind closed doors the reality of it all was too much for a child to bear. 

It caused such frustration and anger in me. In those moments of anger God was there. He saw me and loved me in my mess.  God always reminded me that his love was so so much greater that what I had been taught, and that there was so much more to truly being his child.  I have been able to help others in broken families see how much God is for them and that wouldn't be the case if I didn't experience the difficulties of my childhood. 

I would face many medical hurdles and be brought to the point of death when I was struck by a drunken driver. I would experience pain like no other, but I would see love and forgiveness that only Christ can explain.  I wouldn't have been able to forgive the man who caused me such pain if I didn't understand the Grace and Forgiveness that had freely been given to me. Again.. I was able to reach out to those hurting around me because I truly understood their pain.
 In each of those situations I see joy. I see that God allowed each of the hard moments for my growth and his glory.

I've met many new friends over the years who have been touched by the story that I have to share. And that's the kicker! If God has allowed you to overcome or if he has blessed you beyond measure it is your duty as his Child to share that with others.  What good is it to write a book and never allow anyone to read it? It serves no purpose! Don’t let your story go unread... share it with those around you, and experience the joy that can only come from the Father.

When its all said and done its not your story...it’s His. 

1 Peter 1:6-7
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed

Jessica Golds