Songs for Him: Day 15

Not There Yet


Is there anyone who truly feels like they’ve arrived? No. Not one of us. We are all vastly aware of our faults, situations, lack, and our “not good enough”s. So is God, and He’s okay to work with that. Don’t let where you are right now shape how you view yourself for the future. This life is full of processes, journeys, and we’re all going at different paces.  

So today, take a deep breath, and give yourself some grace. 

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:1-12‬ ‭NIV‬

Songs for Him: Day 14

Non-negotiables

My husband and I have some practical rules in our marriage that are non-negotiables.

#1 Don’t go to bed mad. 
#2 No sleeping in separate rooms/beds due to anger. 

#3 No leaving in a vehicle when you’re mad. (Ask me how I’ve gotten most of my speeding tickets 😅😅)

#4 No use of the D word, or phrases like “I’m leaving you.”

#5 If one of us requests a 5 minute break in an argument, it has to be honored. 

#6 Love keeps no record of wrongs, love always forgives. 

There’s probably some more that aren’t coming to me now, but these are the ones most commonly referred to in our marriage daily life. 

My mind always tries to create an escape plan when conflict arises. I’m a runner from problems by my very nature. But when I got married, I made the commitment to not run from my marriage, to stay and fight instead. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And at the same time, it’s the most Christlike I’ve ever been. 

Jesus has some non-negotiables that He always honors for us. Through that learning experience of receiving grace from Him, he tells us to freely give as you have freely received.  When you step up to that standard and level of grace, you begin to find yourself and the people around you transformed by love. 

What are the non-negotiables in your relationships? What are the things that Jesus refuses to do no matter what you do to  Him? 
“…for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

““If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.””

‭‭John‬ ‭14:15-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Songs for Him: Day 13

Never Off


I woke up around 2 am sick as a dog. Baby boy woke up at 5:30, and ate perfectly and quickly. 🙌🏻 Then baby girl got up at 8:15, needing a hundred things. Still sick, and not really knowing what to do, I changed her, got her a bowl of cheerios, and brought her into the bathroom in an effort to keep an eye on her and keep her from waking her brother. Exhausted, I hopped into the bathtub. I closed my eyes and prayed for God to help me. When I opened my eyes, the lovely sight of ever expanding, floating cheerios joined me in my bath. I couldn’t help but laugh. 

Mom’s don’t get “sick days”, and neither does God. He never rests, His love for you is unending, and His ability to provide will never cease. Let Him take care of you today. 

“Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭36:5-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Songs for Him: Day 19


John 14 and 15 are some of the most beautiful scriptures I’ve ever read. Anyone who thinks Jesus and the Father aren’t romancing us are fools. His crazy, self sacrificing love invites us to more than just a casual fling. He wants all of you. He is infatuated and yet fully able to keep every outrageous promise made through his love soaked words. He says to make your home in me (John 15:4). 

If you’re a parent, the word bedtime may mean a lot of different things. For some it’s aggravating, full of strife, just trying to get your kid to bed. For some it’s the only time of day you slow down with your child. To me, it’s my most treasured time of day. My daughter is in a regular twin bed now, so every night I go and lay with her, we pray for a hundred different people (or so it seems) and we sing. Without fail, every night, I think to myself “This is the best part of my day.” My active toddler who is never quite ready to slow down, slows down for me. There may be some tears here and there, but she holds me tight, sings and prays with me. It’s a pure innocent intimacy, and no matter what has happened before that point, THAT is the note we end on. 

I think to “make our home” in God is to find ourselves in Him, no matter what, at the end of the day. When it all boils down to it, it’s just me and Him. Love conquers all. 

““Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST (renewal, blessed quiet) FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.””

‭‭MATTHEW‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭AMP‬‬

 Rest: renewal, blessed, quiet. 

Make your home in Him today and experience that soul-deep rest. 

Songs for Him: Day 18

“”Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.””‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Taking His yoke means coming in relationship with Him. Oxen worked in teams, unable to go their own way, driven and unified in purpose, marching through the same dirt and putting in the same hours. For all our lives before him, we’ve been on our own. Heavy laden, meant to be in partnership with Him, and yet very utterly alone. Jesus said to take His yoke, to let Him be your partner, your closest companion. Learn from Him, come close to Him. 

There’s nothing in you that drives Him away from you, and He wants that daily relationship with you. Take His yoke today. 

Songs for Him: Day 17

I want to stay on that scripture in Matthew from yesterday this week. 


Having your situation change will not give you rest. People “fixing” their issues will not give you rest. Becoming the person you want to be will not give you rest. Having your wildest dreams come true will not give you rest. 

He will give you rest. 

Run to Jesus today, find rest in Him. 

Songs for Him: Day 16

Rest

“”Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.””

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I’m not sure what this late night theme God has going on with me is, but lately a lot of my blogs come during times of random bouts of insomnia. Babies can really jack you up 😅

The Lord gave me this scripture to hold onto as a little girl. I had a Nicole C. Mullen album that I listened to on repeat, and she had a song on there based off this scripture. I would put it on repeat and sing along to it until I fell asleep many, many nights. 

There was some hard things I had to face as a kid, that I didn’t know how to process or understand, but one thing I knew for sure- the Presence of God brings peace. 

Today, take time to get quiet, put on that song that really speaks to you, and allow His Presence to wash over you. 

Songs for Him: Day 12

Let Loose

If you live in Southeast Texas, or anywhere that hurricanes frequent, you know the weight of the word mandatory evacuation

I will never forget a lesson my mom taught  me as a 14 year old girl, during one of these mandatory evacuations. We had a lot to lose. My mom owned and ran a third generation business, that consisted of several convenience stores/Delis, and some apartments. My stepbrother’s father was on the emergency team at his plant to stay through the storm. So we waited as long as we could, and then headed out. Just mom, myself, my three younger brothers (12, 11 & 10) and our ridiculous 80 lb English bulldog named Mr. Slobberchops. We waited in hours long lines for gas, piled on the highway with the rest of the late-goers, and ended up at the closest hotel we could find. We started the hotel stay with all getting in a lot of trouble by jumping on the beds as soon as mom walked out of the room. That was the last spanking I ever received 😜😜

In this time of extreme stress, including four wild children and a dog that was snuck into the hotel room 🙄, we headed out to eat at a restaurant. We argued the whole way there, the boys fighting in the back. We caused a ruckus at the table, we were indecisive on what to eat, and then mom received several phone calls warning of the worsening hurricane approaching. Anxiety consumed her and we were only making it worse. Suddenly one of the boys did something dumb, like spilled their drink or yelled, and we all jumped, knowing mom was about to correct us. 

Instead, something in her changed. She picked up a cheap waxy crayon off the table from the kids menu, turned to the brother who caused the issue, and drew a big green mustache on his face. We died laughing

That one act changed the entire evening, and in a lot of ways, the entire trip. She had every reason to be afraid and to be upset with us. But she decided to let loose. 

Let loose today in a moment that has you completely full of fear. Choose joy. 

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭The Message

Songs for Him: Day 11

 This girl right here. Full of joy and spunk. There’s not many things she is afraid of. But two things she absolutely hates 1) The Vacuum Cleaner and 2) The Swiffer Mop. 

My days are a balance of trying to get things accomplished while taking care of an infant and a toddler, both who are wild heathens, I mean precious angels. 

One of the things I can’t accomplish without Peyton being asleep and Raegan being awake is the floors. If he is awake, he will lose his cool when he hears the vacuum. (Never mind the fact that it’s his sound of choice on his noise machine. 🙄) Raegan, however, has to be awake because if she is napping, the vacuum will wake her up. Therefore, I wait until that perfect opportunity happens and the stars collide and I can do my floors. Enter the terror of the floor cleaning. My little princess scaredy cat requires me to hold her while vacuuming and mopping. If not, she will scream and wake the sleeping little monster. So my 20 minute job becomes a 45 minute job, and my light workout becomes a full out sweat fest trying to balance her 30 pound frame. 

Fear will do that to us. It makes everything more drawn out, takes more effort, and overall costs us more than whatever we are doing should have. It’s a dead weight, and usually it’s ridiculous. That vacuum and that swiffer will not hurt my child, but until she can learn and know that, she will continue to complicate the simple task of floor cleaning. 

Let’s consciously let fear go today. It’s dead weight. 

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-3‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Worshiptainment. 

You know it’s a good blog when it comes to me at 3 am. 

I am a worship leader. From the time I was little I was a singer, always singing, ask my mother. My grandparents encouraged me constantly to sing to the Lord, and in whatever little bedroom I had at the time, I sang to Him. I can clearly remember some of my earliest songs I wrote to Him, at about third grade. They were terrible, as you could expect, but I have a feeling He loved them. 

I have led worship in many different sizes of congregations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and venues. I often lead at my church at our Sunday morning service. These leading experiences have created a longing in myself for unity, between me, the Holy Spirit, the worship team and the congregation I am leading. More often than not, there is a strong disconnect when it comes to that last component- the congregation. 

I know how we all come in, our minds scattered on a million things. Mind you, I’m talking to the regular churchgoer in this blog. We’ve just argued with the kids and spouse, our adult child just canceled on lunch plans for the third time, that person was pretty rude to you in the lobby as you walked in, your lunch you slave over had better turn out good, the kids have to have those papers signed for school Monday morning and clothes washed or they’re going naked…I get it, I do. Maybe you try to justify it at this point, saying I spend time in worship, in His presence, all week. It doesn’t matter what I do when we’re all together, corporately

Ah, but it does. There’s a beautiful thing that happens when two or more are gathered (Matthew 18:20). We are instructed:

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:18-20‬ ‭NIV‬

This is in the middle of a chapter where Paul is strongly detailing how to live your lives, conduct your marriages…it’s a basic of following Him and being in the body of Christ. 

I have read too many blogs about worship, especially critical ones. A “favorite” of mine was called Why I Didn’t Worship When I Visited Your Church. This blog hit the issue on the head, and exposed hearts of many, unbeknownst to the writer or any who agreed with the blog. 

We say:

I don’t know this song. 

I don’t like this song. 

I wish they’d play this song. 

I wish they would play this kind of song. 

I don’t like their voice. 

It’s too loud. 

It’s too quiet. 

It’s too wordy. 

This song says the same thing over and over. 

They’re singing the same songs over and over. 

Could they change chords?

This song changes too much. 

Could they switch keys each song?

Their transitions were too rough, stay in the same key. 

They sing too fancy and leave me behind. 

They sing too plain. 

Why can’t they sing hymns?

Why do they always sing old songs?

Why do they sing so many new songs?

I wish someone else was leading. 

Oh, they are my favorite leader, they don’t lead enough. 

These lights are too bright. 

These lights are too dim. 

This is a show. 

This is so boring. 

Worshiptainment or worship?

Any one of us has probably been guilty of these petty thoughts at point or another, more than likely even thinking about both sides of any of those arguments in one given service. 🙄🙄🙄🙄

Here’s the truth:

Worship is not about you. It’s about Him and them. There’s a reason Paul says “speaking to one another”. Worship is the edification and strengthening of our hearts and the body of Christ. God designed everything about it to be that way. It is to build faith, to reaffirm, to embed scripture into hearts. It’s plain science that music is a powerful tool for memorization, especially in children’s brains. It literally hardwires in our minds. I believe God created music as a tool for writing His word on our hearts (Proverbs 7:3, Deuteronomy 11:18, Psalm 119:11). But furthermore, it’s a gift to Him. David was beloved by God because David was after God’s heart. Worship is seeking after God’s heart. The temple was a place of worship just as the church, both our physical bodies and structural buildings we call our churches. How many Psalms do we read and are instructed to seek the Lord in His dwelling place, to make music to Him, to find joy and peace in His presence? Too many to count. 

As a worship leader, when people are not engaging in worship, but instead are sacrificing to the altar of self by thinking those thoughts listed before and whatever else they choose to dwell on instead of Him, they work against the worship team, the Spirit and the church. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about not going up to the front, waving flags and dancing, getting all out. You do you. If your worship doesn’t reflect your God-given personality, you should check on that. My husband is just as energetic in worship as he can be coaching a football game, hands high, voice loud, emotions raw. My grandfather is just as sweet and still and thoughtful as he is when I’m sitting as his dinner table having a conversation with him. I’m not referring to outward expressions, although many hold back and refuse to allow themselves freedom in worshipping Him. I’m referring to your hearts. And at that point, it’s like we’re all in a huge canoe, the worship team at the front with a handful of worshippers truly engaging, and they have paddles. Everyone else in the congregation is in the canoe too, but they don’t have a paddle in the water. So at the front, the worship leaders and team are desperately trying to move forward, paddling like crazy, and precious little movement is happening, because canoeing is a team effort, just like worship. 

Furthermore, I think many get embarrassed in worship. They need freedom from that. That reflects lies they believe about themselves in the Father. I’ll put it to you in physical terms. All of us have experienced formal versus familiar family settings. You have the grandparents or aunt and uncle who you spend far less time with, and you are so bummed when you have to go to their house because you’ll probably get in trouble while you’re there. They don’t really know you. You just try to appease them and your parents while you’re there. Conversation is strained and the depth is shallow. Don’t be too much of anything. That’s formal relationship. Then there is familiar relationship. The grandparents that you spend the summer with. The aunt that is more like a friend. The grandpa who makes you laugh so so hard. The cousins who you consider your best friends. The family you spend time with, even if it’s not super often, you truly spend time with them when you’re with them. Which do you think God desires in worship with our church family, formal or familiar? Do you think He wants you reserved or real? Now, I believe He calls for great reverence. He is the God of the universe. But He is also the God of the manger. The God of the poor. The God who took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and washed dirty feet. The God who came close and remains close. Just as I revere and respect my grandparents in many different ways, I also know I am was welcome to snuggle up in their laps, laugh a great big belly laugh when they tickle me, and spend hours with them. You are welcome to come and be close to Him in worship. 

Worship means engaging wherever you’re at. Emotionally, mentally, physically. When your thoughts go haywire, it means taking them captive into obedience to Him. When you’ve experienced a loss or tragedy, it means turning to Him as the source of all joy and peace, because He keeps your mind that dwells on Him in perfect peace. When you just plum don’t feel like it, it means digging down deep and entering His gates with thanksgiving in your heart, because today is the day the Lord has made. 

I challenged many, including myself, with these words. Look at your heart. Are you for or against the church moving in deeper relationship with God? This is your family. They have more in common with you than your blood relatives many times. You are called to support them. 

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.””

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭6:14-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Most importantly, if you read a single thing, read and absorb this:

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…”

‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭16:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

And

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.””

‭‭John‬ ‭4:23-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Lord, may this fall on listening ears, including my own