Silent Treatment

secret-379428__180Truthfully, I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed this semester in college. Okay, really overwhelmed! I really like things to be clear; black and white. I don’t like grey areas. I don’t like confusion. I want the professors to tell me what to do and less difficult ways for me to figure out how to do it than what they are. I feel like some of those professors are sitting at home twirling their mustaches (or hair for the ladies) and maniacally laughing at me. I have been doing group assignments and I don’t know that we are helping each other much at all. We have one teacher that is completely unavailable and we don’t even know if she knows what is going on. Nobody has even  heard from her more than three weeks into the class! This final semester is our test. Have we learned enough and can we use our knowledge to step into the business world?

My answer right now is, “What have I learned?” Are these teachers tricking me? Is this all a conspiracy? We all feel lost in my group assignments. We all feel frustrated and we all feel like the professors are working more against us than for us.

I am so thankful that God isn’t that way. He doesn’t try to trick us and He has clear guidelines for us to find our way. If that isn’t quite enough for that moment, He is always available for a chat. God is always speaking to us.

“God does not ignore us or try to give us the silent treatment. God is a good, caring, and loving God.”

He is a jealous God. This means that He wants our attention all the time. He wants our focus to be on Him. He wants to remind us in so many different ways of His love for us. He wants to bless us.

telephone-1055044__180Spend time with God. When you spend time with somebody, you begin to recognize their voice more and more each time you talk with them. It’s the same way with God. The more time we spend with Him, the more we recognize His voice. He loves us and He loves us to talk with Him. We don’t need to be constantly making demands on Him. His word [Bible] tells us that He will take care of us. He wants us to get to know Him and converse with Him. He wants to hear us worship Him and tell Him how much we love Him. He is worthy of this.

Get to know Him. Thank Him for all He has blessed you with. Even when we feel like we are struggling through some difficult times, He is still worthy to be praised. Always be thankful. No matter what you may be going through, Jesus gave it all for us on that cross. Thank Him!

 

Not My Concert

piano-349928__180I have many different passions in my life, but one of my greatest passions is worship. I love to worship God and throughout my life thus far, I have been blessed to either have been part of a worship team, or lead a worship team. I love it. I love singing and playing my keyboard and passionately pursuing God.

One struggle I have though, is when I feel like somebody is seeing me as a concert rather than a vessel to help carry them into the throne room of God. When I began to play and sing, I’m not looking for you to only listen to me, I’m looking for you to participate with me. Of course I want you to believe I sound good and see that I am gifted, but I would much rather you feel God’s anointing on me. When I am worshiping God with all that I have, I don’t want to look up and see you watching me. I want to see you enveloped in God’s presence and so focused on Him that you barely notice me. My job is not to perform for you, my job is to help you worship.

I don’t want you to think I’m being critical, because I am truly not trying to be. I am concerned that there are those out there leading worship to promote themselves and not solely God. This isn’t a platform to promote yourself. I love worship albums and I have my favorite worship leaders I like to listen to. There is nothing wrong with that, especially when we are looking to worship in our homes and don’t feel like we are ready to begin to sing out on our own. I know we worship God with our lives and in many different ways, but I am talking about this particular kind of worship.

I also love to hear feedback; good or bad. Well, maybe I don’t love to hear the bad feedback, but it helps me understand what you need to help you worship. I kind of dig it when you say you like my voice, or how I did a certain song, and that is fine to do. I love to encourage the teacher or preacher or the worship leader if I can. The greatest compliment I ever received was one person who told me that when he worships with me, he goes places [in worship] that he’s never been. That is so amazing to me. That is so humbling to think that God is allowing me to do this thing that I love. I love it and I want you to love it with me.

microphone-1128106__180I also understand that not everybody worships the same way. I don’t expect everybody to be leaping and dancing in ways they can’t. I wish I could dance like I see some people dance. My way of dancing for Him is pretty much jumping up and down. Not joking! I want you to begin to tune out your flesh. I want you to imagine it is only you and Jesus and you want to worship Him in your own way. My voice is my worship. My fingers are my worship. Raising my hands is my worship. Sometimes shuffling my feet back and forth is my worship. Sometimes I cannot do anything but lay flat on the ground and worship Him.

My point is this, worship God and allow your worship leader to help you do it. Yes, you can enjoy what you are hearing, but allow yourself to let it take you to the place you have never been before.

“How you worship is truly between you and the Lord, but I pray that if you have ever worshiped with me, you stepped out of your comfort zone because you felt God’s presence so strong that you just had to worship like you never have before.”

Thanks for reading this and if I missed anything, or if you have anything to add, please just add it to the comments! Love you!

Rise Up With Hope and Finish This Race

Being wholeheartedly devoted to Jesus can be a difficult road. Well, it is a difficult road. I believe that is why God tells us to ‘finish the race’ we started. When we start a race, we are sprinting and so excited and we feel like we have the energy to go forever. I used to run long distance in High School and I have been trying to get back to running again. You would think I would remember the whole pace yourself thing from all those years running, but no, this Mama is going to sprint those first couple of blocks and then stop and wonder why I only went .15 miles on my running app! There is a maturity that comes with a seasoned runner. You understand where you need to pick up your pace and you understand when you need to conserve your energy in that moment. You don’t always know what kind of terrain is coming around the next corner and if you aren’t paying attention, you could hurt yourself.

I think you could say similar things in your Christian walk. When we first get saved, we are so excited and we are probably running like a child again. We are leaping over obstacles in our way without a care in the world. We want to tell everybody about Jesus and what He has done for us. This is not a bad thing right away. As we move along this path of life though, we gain a maturity in our walk with Christ; at least we are supposed to. The Bible talks about going through valleys and low times in our life where we may feel alone but God is always with us. Sometimes we can’t see anything through the density of the troubles that are in front of us, but as we read the Bible and spend our time with God in prayer and worship, He always guides us. Spending time with Him matures us. We eventually see that obstacle in front of us and automatically know exactly what we need to do to get past this.

If you have walked with God for any amount of time, you know what I am trying to talk about here. If you feel like you still don’t know what to do when difficulties arise, you need to search your heart and find out why you haven’t matured. We all have times when we need some help along the way. Those long races are filled with people handing out water and at times an energy bar or something to help you finish the race. The church that you are called to is filled with those people. They are ready to hand you what you need in those times of difficulty. My concern here is that you may have never been one of those people who helps others in their times of need. Are you so lacking in maturity and growth that you can barely get through the day or week without the thought of giving up? God calls us to a place of maturity. There are times we rest in Him, but we never give up. We wait with hope. Search your hearts and be honest with yourself and God. He sees your heart and we can hide nothing from Him. Maybe you just don’t want to help people. That is immaturity. Maybe you don’t know how to help people. Step out in faith! I am not always the best communicator in certain situations, but I trust God will guide me so that I can help the person I am talking to. When I spend time with Him, He gives me the endurance I need to finish the race and to help others along the way. You can do this! Don’t give up because you don’t know what is around the corner; it could be your breakthrough moment!

Isaiah 40:31

“Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the LORD will be renewed. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and won’t become weary. They will walk and won’t grow tired.”

Leading Worship

I have many loves in my life, but one of my great passions is worship. I love to worship and to lead worship. I’m not talking about singing a couple of songs and being done. I am talking about singing and playing a worship song that I am passionate about and using that passion as a launching pad to take His people into the inner courts of heaven. You see, when the veil was torn in two in the New Testament, that means that we can boldly come before the throne of God. He wants us to have a deep and personal relationship and experience with Him.

Too many people see God as this far off being that is angry all the time and punishes people all the time. While God is a just God, He is the very definition of Love. God is Love and when we show love to others, we show them who God really is. When I worship, I begin to move away from my wants and desires and move into a place where it is all about God and nothing about me. When we worship God, we are giving Him what He is due; like tithing and following His commandments. All these things are showing worship to God, but in this moment, I am talking about that moment that you are worshiping Him with everything that you have, and you cross into His inner courts and it is just you and Yahweh. He is everything you need and you are all that He wants. He is jealous for us; for our attention.

When you lead a church into worship, I don’t believe it is a simple 3 praise songs and 2 worship songs, then the end. It’s about taking God’s people to a place where they can worship God like never before. There are so many times in worship, even when it is just me at my keyboard in my own room, that God reveals even more of Himself to me and I get so emotional. There is nothing wrong with becoming emotional when you are in the presence of God as long as your emotion isn’t taking the focus off of God and placing in on you. I can’t help but want to praise and worship a God who loves me as much as Jesus does. I don’t think we can even fathom what His love truly is until we are in that place of truly worshiping Him. His love is exquisite, perfect, magnificent, and overwhelming.

As a worship leader, you can’t just move immediately into deeper worship; at least in most cases. There are times where the people of God are more than ready to truly worship Him. There have been times where I just want to jump right into the river of God and flow right into His throne room and lay at His feet and worship Him, but as a worship leader, I get the opportunity to bring as many people as I can into His presence. I truly do not want anybody left behind. Sadly, it seems there are too often those that cannot take their focus off themselves long enough to follow, but there are so many who are able.

While I am no Kim Walker-Smith, Jenn Johnson, or Darlene Zschech, I am who God made me to be and I believe that we are to use what God gives us. I love to worship and I have gotten so many confirming prophetic words about leading worship and singing songs of heaven, that I know I am on track. I know that I know that this is what I am called to do. I have been a worship leader before for several years. I know that one day, in God’s perfect timing, that He will raise me up to lead worship once again. Until He does, I am called to lead worship in my own life and my home. That is always our first ministry. I will obediently worship Him as I am called to do, whether in my bedroom alone, or in a church, or on a stage in a whole new setting.

Thank You God for All the Difficult Times

Let me first say this, “What kind of a person would you be if you never even once had a difficult day?” I can’t imagine what a self-indulgent, arrogant, entitled, terrible, rude, etc etc… You get my point. Going through difficulties actually make us better people. How many times have you seen a young child throwing a terrible temper tantrum because they aren’t getting their way. Sometimes the parent gives in, and sometimes they don’t. The bible tells us to spare the rod, spoils the child. We are to discipline those we love. As children of God, He disciplines us because He loves us. We are here to worship Him and to spread His love across the world.

Each difficulty I face draws me ever so nearer to my Lord. Being in His presence is like nothing else in this world. One of my desires is to praise God in the good times as well as the bad. Even if your difficulty is so great that you don’t know how you can make it through the day, remember that God is always with you. Take a few minutes to thank Him for what is coming after the valley. Your faith will be greater. Your love will be greater. The fruits of His Spirit will be more evident in your life than ever before.

So God, I thank you for loving me enough to discipline me. Thank you for helping me to become a stronger, more loving woman who desires to be in Your presence throughout all the good times and bad. Thank you for never giving up on me on those difficult days when I cry and scream and throw my own temper tantrums. Even still, You held me in Your arms and have never let me go because of Your great love for me.

Just Because…

My husband and I were getting some groceries last night and he grabbed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. He bought me flowers for no reason at all; just because. Those ‘just because’ moments are probably the most meaningful. You don’t need to repay this moment. You don’t know what you did to deserve this moment. It just happened. When he gives me those moments, I want to express my love to him in so many more ways. I want to show him I love him, just because. 

How many times in our life have we gotten those ‘just because’ moments? How many times have we given those moments? How many times do we call a friend because we need something? Do I call or text to tell them what they mean to me? So many questions we can ask ourself about friends; about our husband; about our wife; about our family; about God. I look back at my own relationship with Jesus and wonder how many times I talk with Him out of a need in my life. Have I had ‘just because’ moments with Him? I am so in love with Jesus, but how many times a day do I tell Him; show Him? Jesus loves me so much that He died for me! There is no greater sacrifice. He died for me yet I make choices daily to be selfish and needy, because I have developed an expectation of getting something in return

I want to be known as the ‘just because’ friend; the ‘just because’ wife; mother; daughter; Christian. I want to be a Godly example of love. ‘Just because’ is a great example of God’s love. God does things just because He loves us. My husband does things for me just because He loves me. What a great way to show the Love of God. 

God is love. That is what His word says. So if God is love, and we show people love, then we show people who God is. God is a ‘just because’ God. He loves us; just because! 

I challenge you today. I challenge myself.  Let us give more of those moments to each other. I will tell you that Jesus loves YOU! I love you. We may not know each other, but God knows you. He knows every hair on your head. He loves you because He loves you…..just because!