Psalm 5:11-12 MSG

Psalm 5:11-12 MSG

But you’ll welcome us with open arms
    when we run for cover to you.
Let the party last all night!
    Stand guard over our celebration.
You are famous, God, for welcoming God-seekers,
    for decking us out in delight.

God is good and He is worthy to be praised. We can dance and party in church knowing that God is alive and lives in us. I think sometime’s Christians can get caught up in what counts as ‘acceptable’ worship music. I think there is a time to reflect in quieter songs, a time to have your heart and pain be healed in a slower ballad, and a time to jump around because we are free. We are allowed to be excited that God is alive and rescued us. Our worship is allowed to reflect different seasons and experiences in life: happiness, grief, confusion, etc. All of these feelings can be handled by God. And all of these feelings can cause us to remember different aspects of God’s goodness.

No matter what God is alive. and we’re allowed to be excited about what Jesus did for us on the cross and what He will continue to do.

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.

Wednesday Inspiration 1.14.15

Psalm 111:1-10 MSG

Hallelujah! I give thanks to God with everything I’ve got— Wherever good people gather, and in the congregation. God’s works are so great, worth A lifetime of study—endless enjoyment! Splendor and beauty mark his craft; His generosity never gives out. His miracles are his memorial— This God of Grace, this God of Love. He gave food to those who fear him, He remembered to keep his ancient promise. He proved to his people that he could do what he said: Hand them the nations on a platter—a gift! He manufactures truth and justice; All his products are guaranteed to last— Never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof. All that he makes and does is honest and true: He paid the ransom for his people, He ordered his Covenant kept forever. He’s so personal and holy, worthy of our respect. The good life begins in the fear of God— Do that and you’ll know the blessing of God. His Hallelujah lasts forever!

Today is a simple post–God is worthy to be praised and respected. He is a personal God, a truthful God, a faithful God. Let us worship and adore Him today for His goodness and grace.

Found on becourageousdearheart.tumblr.com

Monday Inspiration 12.22.14

When I saw this quote the other day I was really inspired. Just one song can have multiple meanings to multiple people. People can interpret it using good memories or use it to comfort themselves in trials. People relate to things in different and unique ways. I thought about this in terms of worship songs. People suffering might sing a song with deep pain and confusion in their hearts. Other’s might rejoice over those same lyrics. I looked up some interesting verses in the Bible:

John 4:23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

Psalm 57: 7-8 I’m ready, God, so ready,
    ready from head to toe,
Ready to sing, ready to raise a tune:
    “Wake up, soul!
Wake up, harp! wake up, lute!
    Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!”

Isaiah 61: 10-11 I will sing for joy in God,
    explode in praise from deep in my soul!
He dressed me up in a suit of salvation,
    he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo
    and a bride a jeweled tiara.
For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers,
    and as a garden cascades with blossoms,
So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom
    and puts praise on display before the nations.

Exodus 15

20-21 Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine, and all the women followed her with tambourines, dancing. Miriam led them in singing,

Sing to God
    what a victory!
He pitched horse and rider
    into the sea!

Psalm 96

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.

5-6 God made the heavens—
Royal splendor radiates from him,
A powerful beauty sets him apart.

Bravo, God, Bravo!
Everyone join in the great shout: Encore!
In awe before the beauty, in awe before the might.

8-9 Bring gifts and celebrate,
Bow before the beauty of God,
Then to your knees—everyone worship!

10 Get out the message—God Rules!
He put the world on a firm foundation;
He treats everyone fair and square.

11 Let’s hear it from Sky,
With Earth joining in,
And a huge round of applause from Sea.

12 Let Wilderness turn cartwheels,
Animals, come dance,
Put every tree of the forest in the choir—

13 An extravaganza before God as he comes,
As he comes to set everything right on earth,
Set everything right, treat everyone fair.

So you see. Worship comes in all forms. You can worship in times of depression and defeat and also in times of happiness and victory. The beauty of worship is authenticity. God doesn’t want you to fake your feelings. If you are sad, worship Him sad. If you are discouraged, worship Him discouraged. The Father wants your authenticity. He didn’t send His son so you can put up a good facade. He wants nothing hidden, nothing held back, good or bad.

Found on iwastesomuchtime.com

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.

Friday Inspiration 12.12.14

Typically I don’t watch a lot of primetime tv. I follow certain shows but by the time I get home it’s late and after eating dinner and doing a few things I just want to go to bed. However, I heard a lot of buzz about The Voice this week and knew I had to YouTube one of the contestant’s performances. Craig Wayne Boyd is a semi-finalist this year and he decided to sing “The Old Rugged Cross”. He’s not personally my cup of tea music-wise, but the guy has talent regardless of my opinion. And I totally respect that he chose to glorify God on national television. I mean think about it; “looking at the preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, NBC’s “The Voice” averaged a 2.5 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 10.6 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m.” [Source: http://variety.com/2014/data/ratings/monday-ratings-nbcs-voice-wins-but-remains-sluggish-abcs-light-fight-brighter-1201374830/] So whether people expected to hear it or not, God was glorified and His name was declared and made famous to all 10.6 million people who tuned in to the show.

I got chills watching this. Not necessarily because Boyd was great, but because God is great. I think growing up as a Christian this wasn’t ever happening. Being a Christian was a secret in a way. People might know that you are a Christian in passing but it was never really allowed to be talked about. I still think this exists today, but Christians are becoming more and more bold. The entertainment industry for example is being infiltrated with Christian artists, directors and producers. Things that weren’t being aired years ago are now front and center. Matthew 5:14-16 MSG says:

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.

In other words, this man sung a song. He got onto a show and sung a song about God. Whether intentional or not he witnessed to all of America that God is not a secret. He is stirring the hearts of people everywhere. He is encouraging people to open up with God. To be honest about their curiosity for something greater than this human life. To know God.

I was shocked to hear Pharrell Williams pose the following question to Boyd: “”I have a question for you, what does it feel like to be at the top of your game and to surrender it to God in front of all of the whole entire world?” My jaw nearly dropped! It’s like Boyd singing this song had a ripple effect and without specifically saying it Pharrell was also declaring God in his own way. I think it’s breathtaking that in a competition show where people have their eyes on the prize that Boyd declared this:

And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown

This is a man who knows his trophy will not come from this show. It might. It might not. Ultimately all of these worldly prizes pale in comparison to God and the prize of salvation.

This just reminds me how God is on the move. God is being declared in ways he never was before. It’s exciting days we live in, isn’t it?

Tuesday Inspiration 12.9.14

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Psalm 63:3 (MSG)

2-4 So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last!
My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

It’s been a long day and I’ve been having some flashbacks to some painful experiences in my past for whatever reason. But I love this Psalm. And no matter what sad things I’ve remembered today, this verse still makes me happy. Sometimes at church during worship I look up to the ceiling and pretend that I can see Jesus looking down on me. He can see me and I can see Him. No matter how painful my 20s have been I think I can finally see Jesus with 20/20 vision. In His generous love I can finally live. No matter what pain I’ve endured, or no matter what happiness I’ve felt, He’s still bigger and better than anything good or bad.

I hope this simple verse reminds you that no matter what negativity might be thrown your way today — that you have the ability to still look Heavenward and know God sees you, and loves you and because of that you can still have positivity and joy.

Photo Credit: worshipgifs.com