Song of Today – Hosanna by Hillsong

Today I’m visualizing the year I want to see for myself, my family, my church, and the world in general. This part gets me every time:

I see his love and mercy
Washing over all our sin
The people sing
The people sing

Just imagine what it would feel like to see this happen. It reminds me of the feeling of hot water in the shower, covering my skin. A tight hug, and many more things. I feel joy that no matter what I face I can see his love and mercy and because of that the people of the world can sing.

Friday Inspiration 1.23.15

“Ever Be”

Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old Your love is enduring through the winter rain And beyond the horizon with mercy for today

Faithful You have been and faithful you will be You pledge yourself to me and it’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You Father the orphan Your kindness makes us whole You shoulder our weakness And Your strength becomes our own You’re making me like you Clothing me in white Bringing beauty from ashes For You will have Your bride

Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame And known by her true name and it’s why I sing

You will be praised You will be praised With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord You will be praised You will be praised With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

I love this song because there is something for all of us in it. God is devoted and loves us all uniquely. His love endures. He is faithful. He Fathers the orphaned. He is kind. He carries our burdens. He brings dead things to life. We are His Bride and we are free of shame and guilt through Christ alone. He is worthy. He will be praised. Every knee will bow. Every tongue confess. He is Lord. Thank God, He’s Good.

He Who Calls

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Today on the commute to work I was listening to Hillsong’s No Other Name album as I normally do. I haven’t in a while because I’ve forgotten to charge my iPod but I remembered to the other day. I was feeling a little woozy on the bus and decided to take out my headphones and listen to it.

I was remembering how early on (when I started to first come to Hillsong) I would listen to my iPod and various Hillsong albums and have my eyes closed on the bus to or from work. More often than not I would see a vision of myself smiling and singing and dancing and lifting my hands to the songs. Maybe that seems normal but for me, prior to Hillsong, I can count on one hand or a few fingers the amount of times I’ve lifted my hands in worship. It was just never my thing. I never judged people who did, but I didn’t want to feel guilted into worshiping how other people do just to feel like I was doing Christianity properly.

Fast forward in time and now it feels weird not no lift my hands in worship. And that’s a cool thing. I remembered who I was and now who I am and it dawned on me that maybe God was showing me what He would see me doing one day. I wasn’t yet there, but He exists outside of time and had revealed something to me.

Anyway, I was listening to whatever song came on this morning and I saw myself singing and dancing around on stage like we usually do at church in choir, in the background, with the worship team on any given Sunday. But this time I was singing two lines. I wrote them in my phone which is why I included them in today’s picture. The first was “He who calls me to crush the heads of snakes”. And a few minutes later the second was “He who calls me to dance on graves”. I started to imagine me dancing on stage and looking down as the floor was covered in snakes. They didn’t try to bite me, they didn’t try to squeeze me, it was like no one was phased by it. Then I stopped day-dreaming and whatever the next song was started.

I decided today at work to look up these two things in the Bible. First snakes and then graves.

Here are some examples of verses that talk about snakes:

Psalm 91:1-13 You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

Luke 10:18-20

Jesus said, “I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.”

How cool is that? It makes total sense now right? My first reaction whenever I’ve had any sort of dreams or visions is to go to the Bible first and see if it’s actually from God. I have my fair share of pointless or disturbing or random dreams and not all of them are worth exploring. But I was so excited after reading these verses because I got a few important points out of them:

  • God rescues me from hazardous situations i.e. “snakes” which can be many obstacles, negative comments about you, gossip, sinful temptations, etc.
  • Wikipedia defines snakes in one sections as “Most species are nonvenomous and those that have venom use it primarily to kill and subdue prey rather than for self-defense. Some possess venom potent enough to cause painful injury or death to humans. Nonvenomous snakes either swallow prey alive or kill by constriction.” In other words…there are different kinds of snakes. Some who appear non-threatening but can literally consume you or destroy you through consistent pressure and some that you know you should avoid completely because they are lethal. Wow.
  • Psalm 91 says that I’ll watch safely from a distance kind of like how I saw this vision and no matter the amount of snakes, I knew that I was safe and smiling and dancing like nothing was wrong
  • God is showing me what He has done for me i.e. I have safe passage as I walk on “snakes” through life because of His authority over and presence in me

Here are some examples of verses that talk about graves:

Psalm 30:2-3

God, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together. God, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life when I was down-and-out.

Jonah 2:1-9

[ At the Bottom of the Sea ] Then Jonah prayed to his God from the belly of the fish. He prayed: “In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God. He answered me. From the belly of the grave I cried, ‘Help!’ You heard my cry. You threw me into ocean’s depths, into a watery grave, With ocean waves, ocean breakers crashing over me. I said, ‘I’ve been thrown away, thrown out, out of your sight. I’ll never again lay eyes on your Holy Temple.’ Ocean gripped me by the throat. The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight. My head was all tangled in seaweed at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root. I was as far down as a body can go, and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever— Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive, O God, my God! When my life was slipping away, I remembered God, And my prayer got through to you, made it all the way to your Holy Temple. Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love. But I’m worshiping you, God, calling out in thanksgiving! And I’ll do what I promised I’d do! Salvation belongs to God!”

Matthew 27:51-53

At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.)

Once again I found these verses amazingly cool! Here are some takeaways from what I read:

  • When we are “6 feet under” and have been pronounced “dead” in areas of our life, whether these are dreams, relationships, our optimism, whatever it might be we need to remember that when we call out for help God will pull us out of the grave. He pulled himself out of the grave and rose from the dead, and as children of God we have access to that same resurrection power. We have reason to hope.
  • Prior the Hillsong I had a lot of hardships ranging from an abusive relationship to a dysfunctional relationship with my father to betrayals by friends and just overall despair and depression. When entering Hillsong I was desperate for a change. I was always in church every Sunday throughout my life and always considered myself to be born-again, but that doesn’t mean you are immune to life. Life happens, hurt happens, but you can choose what kind of seed your life has. I mean this in the Matthew 13 kind of way. For those of you who don’t know it says: “A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road, and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled by the weeds. Some fell on good earth, and produced a harvest beyond his wildest dreams.” I think in my pre-Hillsong season I had seeds, I had moments where growth sprouted through different seasons but through various storms I withered and weeds began to strangle me. My hope withered, my view of God withered, and had I grown stronger roots I wouldn’t have died as quickly. You see? So I relate to Jonah in the part where he says “I’ve been thrown away, thrown out, out of your sight. I’ll never again lay eyes on your Holy Temple”. So often I felt unloved or betrayed by God. That He saw me but wasn’t acting on my behalf. That I was being punished for some past sinful behavior. That He didn’t love me as much as He loved other Christians.
  • As low as you think you’ve gone, God can quickly pull you out. Jonah knows this first hand: “I was as far down as a body can go, and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever— Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive, O God, my God”
  • I forget some times that when Jesus rose from the dead that other people rose with Him. In other words, nothing that looks dead in a Christian’s life can stay dead.

I love this song from this morning because it is a simple picture of what God has accomplished in just two years. “He who calls me to crush the heads of snakes/He who calls me to dance on graves”.

Be hopeful that whatever is trying to devour you, God has equipped you to crush. Be excited that whatever looks long dead, God will make come alive. God calls us by name and we see this proven in the Bible when He calls out to Adam, Moses, Samuel, and many other people. Never become bitter and believe that God has forgotten you or doesn’t know who you are. He does. And if He can show Himself faithful to me and speak to me I know He can call out for you too.

Thursday Inspiration 10.30.14

I think I’m getting sick. I had an overall feeling of malaise right before bed last night. My head feels full of cotton, and my stomach just feels unsettled. I went into today with the posture of my head down so to speak. I’m ready for the day to be over and to crawl back into bed to sleep it off.

But it’s funny how in the midst of it all, when you aren’t feeling your best, how God shows up.

On the bus ride to work I was feeling kind of nauseous which was making me anxious..I actually think I might have emetophobia but anyway. As I was closing my eyes I started to sing a song. This only happened to me once before (refer to my last post: https://jesscbnyc.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/let-it-rain-lyric)but I know it was straight from God and Heaven. I jotted it down in my phone:

I inhale Your presence

I exhale Your praise

I know I’m created 

To exalt Your name

All worries behind me

I call out for You

No matter my problem

You’ll always come through

I finally got to the office and while I’m getting work done I don’t feel 100% myself. But again unexpectedly I was asked to work on a side project coming up with marketing terms/copy writing for use on our website. It just feels good, which I’m feeling sick, to be creative and to come up with new, fresh, words. Similar to my “song” from this morning.

Lastly I got a random text message from someone at church with a lovely scripture:

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An excerpt from Psalm 96 MSG:

1-2 Sing God a brand-new song!
Earth and everyone in it, sing!
Sing to Godworship God!

2-3 Shout the news of his victory from sea to sea,
Take the news of his glory to the lost,
News of his wonders to one and all!

4-5 For God is great, and worth a thousand Hallelujahs.
His terrible beauty makes the gods look cheap;
Pagan gods are mere tatters and rags.

All I can say today is God is good!

Found on thechicestchick.tumblr.com

Friday Inspiration 9.5.14

Matthew 5 (MSG)

Salt and Light

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

I’m writing this at the end of the work week. I’m pretty worn out actually but today was a good day. It started with a few of my girl friends from church chatting about going out for wine and chocolate. Yum. But then there was a brief diversion to talk about random things. And at one point I said how I admired Christine Caine and Beth Moore but how as great as they are one day they will be gone and who will be there to be powerful badass women of God then? Not in those words but in all seriousness I think about all the women who haven’t heard them speak about their pasts, mistakes, revelations, dreams, hopes, disappointments, all of that and they are so passionate and so talented that instead of only admiring that we need to learn to become it. So it’s not a matter of oh wow they are great and that was a good moment in history because they were alive to preach. We need to carry that light on. We need to keep it lit. And more importantly as a “light-bearer” I have my own unique “God-color” to shine. If Christine is say a Red God color and Beth is a Green…maybe it’s time for some Blue. Maybe Jess is Blue and you are pink and that girl you see in children’s church is Yellow. There is room for all of it. If God wanted one color/flavor of person He would have made only that. But He is pure white. And because He is pure white and pure light i.e. the light of the world that means that He contains all colors. What I mean is that it all reminded me how white light is actually made up of all colors:

“White light is the name given to what the human eye sees when all the colors that make up the visible light spectrum are combined; the visible light spectrum is made up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light, and these colors combined make white lighting. When shined through a prism, white lights are broken into the separate colors of the visible light spectrum. Many people commonly refer to white light simply as “light” or “visible light,” and it is this light that makes it possible to view one’s surroundings. Several sources of white lights exist including the sun and stars, certain types of lightbulbs, and some lamps.” – http://www.wisegeek.com

I love that idea. We were all created to shine individually because we are all unique but ultimately we all make up different aspects of God. All those God-colors are us. And He is ultimately the collection of all of us–the sum of all our parts because we are in His image. Once you understand this you really do in fact realize that it is this light and only this light, Jesus, “that makes it possible to view one’s surroundings”. He is the answer. He is the greatest One of all. He loves us with an ever lasting love. His face shines brighter than the Sun. He is all powerful and all merciful. Always only Jesus. And if He is the greatest light–we can be sure we won’t burn out. We will be bright enough for everyone to see. 

Monday Inspiration 4.21.14

Monday Inspiration 4.21.14

I’m still smiling from yesterday’s Easter services. It’s a beautiful day.

#crossequalslove

 

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

Oh, I can see You now
Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life
-Broken Vessels

 

Photo Credit: Found on homeword.com via Pinterest

Let It Rain – Lyrics

So on and off this year I’ve gotten lyrics in my head that I know are not from a real song. I’m not sure if this is a new way of God speaking to me or a new way for me to be creative and write. It was raining yesterday and all of a sudden the chorus looping in my head was being sung by a male vocal with a full band: guitars, drums, the works. It was with the clarity of listening to a song with headphones on. It sounded beautiful.

Father I’ve run dry (Bridge)

Let it rain

From the heavens above

Let it rain

Cover me in your love 

 

Father I’ve run dry (Bridge)

Let it rain

With my hands lifted high

Let it rain

Jesus open my eyes

 

I’m going to see if I can add to it today.