What Song Are You Singing?

Even in Christianity we can sing the same song over and over until it loses its meaning. It may have been a great song, but when we have milked the essence from it, it is time to sing a new song. If we don’t, our Christian walk will become ordinary, even mundane.

Now that Christmas carols are on the radio and other media, we sometimes to fail to really listen to the words.

Pastor Adrienne mentioned once that “new song is in the Bible nine times. If it is there nine times, I believe God is trying to get our attention. I was convicted that I was singing the same old song and He is wanting me to sing a NEW one.

They say that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Yet many Christians live their faith that way, not expecting new things, not growing beyond the fundamentals.

As I dug into “new song”, I discovered that there are actually 185 songs in the Bible for all occasions from battles  to splitting seas to dirges. Over three-fourths are found in Psalms. So why am I not singing a new song when He is definitely doing new things? Have we lost the ability to celebrate because we are so busy with dead works?

I can remember when praying in the Spirit was normal, but today it is occasional. Are we so burdened with the cares of the world that we can’t break through in song?

This little girl missed her mother who died and sang from the heart.  Her music has taken her around the world. I encourage you to listen to it once and then listen to it again joining her in song. Ask the Lord to give you that new song from your heart.

Here I Am    (I own no rights to this)



Light Your World This Season

Since my youth, one of my favorite verses has been Isaiah 60:1-2.

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

It is a prescription for bringing God’s glory into this world. We must first, ARISE. Which means we cannot be passive. We have to come on the scene and get involved.
Note though that we arise and then in verse 2 it says the Lord shall arise. Here’s the promise. We get involved in the loves of others and He will “rise, come forth, break out, arise, rise up, shine” upon us. Then it will not be anything in us that people see but they see His light, His glory dispelling the darkness of their hearts and lives.
A dear friend shared this at open mic at my church Friday night and the switch was flipped once more. Our light can dim if we do not stay charged with His word.
During this holiday season share His light and Be His light.
Light Your World Today!
Remember during this season, it is not YOUR presents, it is HIS Presence that make the difference. Let it shine through you.
I think this song says it all: Light Your World
Don’t just sing it. Do it!

Living a Life that Counts

No parent should ever have to bury their child. I was not prepared for my daughter, Carrin’s death over five years ago. It shook a lot of things up. There are some things you take for granted…like there will be a tomorrow. For Carrin, there wasn’t and it showed the rest of us how precious each day really is.

For a while, I was sure the sky was falling. It was as if Carrin’s death began a series of events that seemed overwhelming. One of these was that Ray needed and received a quadruple bypass, Ray has always the strong one.
Suddenly he was restricted to lifting nothing heavier than a gallon of milk.
When roles change in a marriage, “in sickness and in health” comes front and center. Suddenly you see things in your own attitude that are not all that pleasing.
Why do we resist change? Why do we continue to want things the way they were?
When selfishness raised its ugly head because things were inconvenient or just not going my way, I would repent and then go into self-bitterness and self-hatred because I wasn’t doing everything right.
One morning while in the waiting room at the hospital where Ray was getting his first post-operative stress test, I opened my Bible and read  1 John. There I found a lot of answers to  not only why I do not love myself, but how to love myself. While I suggest you read the whole epistle, let me pull out a few verses.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.

We know we cannot love others unless we love ourselves. We hate ourselves when we don’t do things “the way we are supposed to.” Well, who told us that?
Certainly the enemy.

 Verses 1 and 2 say we have an advocate in Jesus Christ and he is our offering, our atonement for our sin.
Self-hatred says, “No, thanks. That’s not going to be good enough. I need to punish myself!”
Not only is that insanity, but it is self-idolatry declaring that hating oneself is a substitute for His death on the cross.

Yet I have done it for years.
12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.
“For his name’s sake”
Can you ponder on that a moment?
“…your sin’s are forgiven for his name’s sake.”
We have nothing to earn, nothing to prove, nothing to pay.
12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.

Receive His gift today. Tomorrow isn’t promised, but if it comes, live it fully.

Give the Gift of Authenicity

The greatest tragedy of Christmas is that the true meaning is unknown, commercialized or just plain neglected. Some even argue that Jesus wasn’t born in December. I say well, probably not, most likely not, but at a time when more and more religious freedom is taken away, I choose to celebrate on the popular date. More important than the actual date is a relationship with the one whose birthday we celebrate.

Loving others and serving one another is a way to share the true meaning of Christmas. However, so many have broken heart and can only give broken love. 

Most probably feel it has been broken and trampled enough. So we try to protect ourselves by building filters and walls to keep abusers out. The problem is there are some people who are about as lovable as a porcupine who could bring a lot to your life if you ever got past their filters and walls.

We are a society of great pretenders who hide behind our personal style of fabrication. Behind it we experience fear and isolation, but dare not risk interpersonal relationship. This escalates during the holidays.

Many divorces happen because two pretenders married and when they got real, it wasn’t pretty. To forge a true relationship, you have to go through the pain of reality.

Ray and I married from two different worlds. I had been abused a greater part of my life when we married. His past wasn’t a bed of roses either. Fortunately, his response to abuse was to try harder and try harder is what he did when he discovered he had a wounded tiger by the tail.

The more he would try to love and protect me, the more I would rage. I knew in my inner being he was going to leave me like everyone else, so I kept pushing him away. He was as tenacious as a bulldog. Bottom-line, his unconditional love won. We have been married 38 years.

If I had bailed at the first hurt or even the tenth (most were self-inflicted through self-sabotage), I would have never known the love, happiness and sweetness being a couple has brought me.

He taught me to give others a chance as well. He was my safety net when I let my walls down. What I learned through that is often times the person I run from is the person who genuinely has something to deposit in my life. The very thing I don’t like in them is all too often a character flaw in me. Funny how that works.

Thousands of years ago, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.”

That is true today, not just in marriage, but in meaningful friendships where you share your heart and that very thing that you were trying to figure out comes spilling from your own mouth. To listen to another is to allow their genuine self to come forth.

Dare to let the walls down and be real. Give the gift of your authentic self this season. The results may surprise you.

Don’t Lose Your Joy

To be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. My problem is I often read several books at a time. I have always done that. I am a bit of a book-aholic. Even at thrift stores I look at books. I especially enjoy the collection of short stories you can find there for they are not my normal genre.

I want to share a story with you I found in a fifty cent paperback called Christmas in Our Hearts by Charles Allen and Charles Wallis. This is a paraphrase but I want to give credit to the author. 

A pastor in the Midwest had a woman come to him for healing. She had exhausted all medical venues. There was nothing more that could be done medically. She had a severe limp. She asked him to pray for her that she might be healed.

He said that he would only pray that she would get close to the Lord. “Don’t pray about anything else,” he told her. She prayed and they prayed several times together. Still she continued to limp.

One day she came to the pastor and confessed that she had been convicted of a wrong spirit she had against another person. She felt she should go in love to that person and make things right. However, she kept putting it off. Yet as she continued to pray that she would be closer to the Lord, she felt more convicted that she had to face this. She made things right with that person and continued to pray for a closer relationship with the Lord. Shortly thereafter, she began to walk without  a limp.

To me this is the simplicity of sanctification. Don’t let unforgiveness cripple you and interfere with a close relationship with the Father.

James 1: 17 tells us:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Could the very thing you are seeking come from a closer relationship with the Father? Is unforgiveness keeping you from receiving? That is a high price to pay.

This is a season of great joy. Don’t let the “right to be right” steal your joy. Love unconditionally as the Father loves us.

#1 Prescription

The number one prescription for self-pity is gratitude. We can all look backwards to the way things were or forward to the way we think should be, but if we are grateful that we woke up this morning with a new beginning, we will embrace today.

The day before Thanksgiving can be frenetic with preparations, travel and anticipation either good or bad. Or it can be a day we decide to fully enjoy and take time to smell the mums. Some of the details we fret over are not as important as taking the time to listen to someone. It is a rare and precious gift.

As you approach Thanksgiving, would you take the time to call five people and tell them that you are thankful that they are in your life. Will you thank the people who serve you? Give a sincere compliment to someone standing in line behind you.

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

Give Thanks

Focus on Those Hidden Things

.I am not young.  I praise God for every year on my body’s chronometer. Yet I sometimes get frustrated when I am slow to learn, slow to change.
David declares, “My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.”
I, too, hold on to things that are not good to me, those dusty things carried from my past that I haul into each new day.
Sometimes I get into false burden bearing. I want folks to “get it” and not waste years as I did on the shiny things,  those things that catch our attention. There are LOTS of shiny things during the holidays.  Instead we need to deal with those hidden things. Those things covered by the shadows in my soul that keep me from the fullness the Father has for me.

Hidden things. I thought about the verse that says everything hidden will be revealed. Wouldn’t I rather deal with those things myself before God than have someone else expose them and possibly exaggerate them or uncover me.
So I go back to the Word and what it says about me, about my walk and my final destination.

When I run to the Word, He can restore me and even enlarge my heart to receive more.
Today I will be patient with myself. I will look to my Father to guide me. He is the truth that never changes. I am His daughter. I am loved and must learn to love myself even in the dust.

Spiritual maturity cannot come in a day. We cannot expect it. It takes growth, until the whole beauty of the image of Christ is formed in (us).
Andrew Murray

The Many Pieces of Life

Ray and I are going away for a much needed weekend in Atlanta. It does have a purpose beyond relaxation. We are forging a deeper relationship. Then on Sunday afternoon we pay tribute to a dear friend who has gone to be with the Lord. Ron Tenny taught me so much about serving with joy. So grateful to have a husband who shares life with me at so many levels.

Today I want to repeat an earlier post for there is still much meat on the bone. pieces of your life

Imagine receiving a 1,000 piece puzzle, but no picture of the finished product, just colorful beginnings. You are told that there are clues all around you and one book that has all of the answers. You have one lifetime to complete it.

In the beginning, you see parts of the picture in your parents and family. Then other caregivers, teachers and perhaps an abuser enter the scene. They all picture what this puzzle is going to look like.

There is happiness, success, abandonment, grief and they are all integral part. It’s just sometimes we put them in the wrong place trying to make them fit where they don’t belong.

Sometimes you feel it is just too hard so you quit  The puzzle pieces lay in a pile next to the complete sections. Then a relationship motivates you to continue on.

You can see what parts look like but don’t really get the whole picture. You tried it from a couple of view points and the pieces did not fit. Each piece was that unique as if especially designed for this one of a kind puzzle.

Then you find the key: The Bible. First Chapter.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

So the picture should look like God. It should show blessings, a fruitfulness that brings blessings to others and have authority.

To complete this picture you will have to search out the clues in the Word. If we don’t follow the guide, we don’t look like Him. He lets us do our own thing but we won’t reflect His image.

I know your picture isn’t completed yet, b.ut how’s it looking?


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Holiday Killer

Most of us have a pretty narrow view of what the holidays should look like. Many work themselves into a frenzy trying to make everything perfect. It is when we apply those same unrealistic standards to relationships that disaster looms. For people cannot be tweaked like that perfect dinner. Each person is wired slightly and comes with their own distinct programming.

Most are not deliberately obnoxious, but when they do not fit in our vision of what a perfect holiday should look like, we often judge them as such. It all boils down to expectations. I don’t know where we got the idea that our expectations are the best for everyone. One size fits all. That is not reality at all nor is the expectation that because we have always done it “that way” so that’s the way it will unfold again this year.

You would not expect a paraplegic to serve you a banquet. Yet we have no problem expecting a broken person, wounded by life, to meet our every expectation.

It took me most of my life to learn to release friends and family of my expectations I inflict on them (and those they place on me). I had to purpose to release myself from the ones I place on myself and others.

Expectations are generally unspoken; I hardly notice them anymore. For example, I expect that certain actions will yield specific results. Further, I expect that certain people will act in predetermined ways. I am often surprised when this isn’t always true. In my belief system and in my control issues, I hold expectations of what a good marriage looks like, a perfect family or even a good person or success. Sometimes these are too narrow and not godly.
Pain and suffering come when expectations are not met. If I finitely define what a marriage should look like, how children should behave (even adult ones), what success looks like, any other definition of it will bring disappointment. There is no room for God in the boxes that I draw. This black and white thinking often leads not only to disappointment, but hurt and anger and even depression.

Expectations are rooted in desire and fear, anxiety and stress. Often they are birthed out of fear of losing control. Anything less brings grief. If we only could see the tight box they keep us in. This box forces me to see my present experiences only as it fits in my plans for the future. When we release our expectations, we open ourselves to the possibilities of all God has for us.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

If I choose His expected end, even though it appears uncertain to me, I am free of the stress and the disappointment when MY life plan doesn’t work out perfectly.
Instead of keeping my eyes focused on my plan, I choose to focus on Him. He is the reason for living. Let us celebrate the gift of life even when it does unfold the way we thought it would or even should. Let’s look with anticipation to see what can happen when we let God and people out of the box of our expectations.

The Seasons of Life

In Ecclesiastes 3 Solomon wrote: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. 9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? 10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

We can be so short-sighted believing that when we are going through a rough path that it is forever. No, it for a season. Yes, it may rough and painful but it is not forever if we put our hope and trust in Him.

Philippians 2 says:13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 14Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

How we go through each season is a choice. We can understand that rough seasons are refining fires or we can whine and lose hope. Who and what we put our trust in determines our choice.

As we live our lives, we must always remember that it is our choice how we choose to respond to the challenges we face. We can accuse, blame, rant and rave or we can run to the Father and allow Him us to show us the way through.

Life isn’t always fair, but at least we have a life. His mercies are new every morning. We can be strengthen by that and knowing that the joy of the Lord is our strength. There is NOTHING we have to do in our own strength. When we do it that way, it is for naught.

Daily we get to choose to walk in His light and His love. It is sometimes to love the prickly people or the people who have hurt us. However, unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

I remember singing to my daddy as he lay dying in the hospital. Just the day before I had spoken at a women’s Cursillo about how to be free from  abuse. The only way is through forgiveness. God never meant for me to be abused, but I would be held a prisoner of my past if I had not forgiven him.

Though he was in a coma, I told him of the women set free that weekend and then I softly sang the song we had sung that weekend, In His Time. Tears ran down his face as I told him once again that I forgave him. He died the following day.

Hope this song blesses you, too, and you will live this season of your life to the fullest.