Well the same thing applies to our thoughts and the things we think about. We all have good and bad days, but we really can make a conscious decision to focus on the positive things…. which brings me to a couple of my favorite scriptures-
Philippians 4:8- Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
Psalm 19:14- May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
This is my prayer-
God help me to focus on those things which are good and praiseworthy, and may the things I say AND do be pleasing to You and bring You glory!
Here is a song I wrote, based on those scriptures.
I began dating my husband when I was 17 years old. We worked together at a movie rental place inside of a grocery store for about a year before he asked me out on our first date.
My parents had recently separated and I was a little bit jaded about the whole idea of marriage, and what a happy family should looked like. I met my husband’s parents early on in our relationship and I remember wondering why they were so happy all the time!
I spent lots of time at my husband’s family’s house that first year we dated. So much time, that it was pretty much assumed that I was going to be there for dinner every night. My (future) in-laws frequently brought home a Wendy’s frosty for me- knowing how much I loved ice cream.
One afternoon I was riding with my (future) mother-in-law to get ice cream. I clearly remember the light turning green and hearing her say Thank you, Lord.
In my mind I remember thinking that was a little bit over-the-top. Really?!Who thanks the Lord for the light changing to green? But in reality, I wasn’t thankful for much of anything during that time in my life. I felt sorry for myself for lots of reasons and I was completely oblivious to all of the many blessings I had to be thankful for.
But praise the Lord- years later, somewhere in my misery, God’s grace found me. He opened my eyes and He came into my heart. I am so thankful for how my husband’s parents have selflessly loved me with a Christ-like love all these years. And over the years, I realized the source for their happiness- it’s simply the JOY of the Lord!
I once was lost, but now I’m found
was blind but now I see
Whenever I feel myself begin to slip into that bottomless pit of self-pity, I think of my mother-in-law and how she praised the Lord for something as simple as the green light that day.
When we begin to thanking Him for the little things- we realize just how much we have to be thankful for!
And just as my wise father-in-law says- “give God all the glory- even when you think He doesn’t deserve it… because He does!”
Be thankful in all circumstances- 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I woke up the other morning with JOY just flowing through my veins! I mean, I was so excited, I couldn’t contain it! I had the most amazing dream- it was one of those dreams that was so real, it was being in a movie! I literally sat up in my bed and cheered- “Woohooo!!!”
The hubs was already awake, so I went into the living room to share the excitement with him, lol.
“Oh.My.GOODNESS! I had the BEST dream EVER”, I tell my husband.
Now, mind you, he’s not a morning person… so he smiled and said not now.Go write it down and tell me all about it later. He handed me a few pieces of paper from the printer and a pen and I sat down and tried to write fast enough to capture all the juicy details.
About 10 minutes later, he turned around to me and said are you STILL writing?!
Yep! Almost done!
I won’t bore you with all the nitty-gritty details of my dream, but the main focus was that I had found something special that belonged to a stranger. I tracked down the stranger and was about to give them this item, and then I lost it while I was in the mall. I prayed and prayed that I would find it, and I had all sorts of shoppers and salespeople looking for it.
I remember the feeling of expectation I had in the dream- I just KNEW I was going to find this thing! And sure enough, I did! I was so overjoyed that I jumped up and down and raised both arms in the air and shouted “Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!”
And that’s how I woke up that morning! I was on cloud nine! I wanted to jump up and down and tell the whole world how much I loved the Lord.
But the coolest thing happened to me that day- I had that feeling of joy inside me ALL DAY LONG! I started thinking about how awesome it would be to wake up praising the Lord like that EVERY DAY- simply because we have another day to enjoy life!
Life’s all about perspective.
How different our lives would be if we saw every moment as an opportunity to praise the Lord!
I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. Psalm 34
Back in my college days, we sang a beautiful song called “Try to Remember” from the musical The Fantasticks. It’s such a lovely song, with a melancholy melody and lyrics that sing all on their own. I woke up thinking of this song and remembering what happened to me this past Sunday…
After I finished leading the music for the worship service, I sat down in between my husband and my daughters. There’s something so special about sitting with my family in church- it felt like heaven!
I admit that I was more focused on the presence of the Lord than I was on the sermon that morning. But the most wonderful thing happened- I started to remember last December and how absolutely miserable I was. For the last 12 years I have been dealing with allergies. My symptoms started off pretty minor, and I would lose my voice for a few weeks in the first few years. And then each year my symptoms increased- as did the amount of time I was plagued with a cough and laryngitis. And unfortunately, these symptoms have always been the worst during the Christmas and Easter seasons- which are the BUSIEST times of the year for anyone involved in music ministry!
Last year around this time, I remember feeling so defeated. I even questioned if He really wanted me to keep singing for Him. I am embarrassed to admit that there were many Sundays after church when I cried- feeling like I had let Him down, feeling like I embarrassed myself (by something I said, or by my voice cracking…). I am embarrassed to say this because it made worship all about ME and not Him!
After lots of prayer and encouragement from my Christian friends, I resolved to worship and praise Him- even if!Even if my voice was gone, even if my cracking, coughing, weak voice would embarrass me- I would STILL sing His praises and be obedient to sing!
Well, after the Christmas season last year, I decided to finally visit an allergy doctor. After going through the testing, he determined that I was having reactions to nearly all of the 60 environmental things I was tested for. After trying other medications to help alleviate my cough and other symptoms, I decided to try immunotherapy- allergy shots.
I have been doing them since May, and I have FINALLY reached the “maintenance” phase. It has been a long process, and it’s been quite time consuming- 2 visits each week, 3 shots each time. I have prayed and prayed that this would help and that I was not wasting all this time!
But Sunday, as I sat there with my family in the service- He reminded me of all that He has done for me over this last year. He has taught me so much about worship… how my skills and talents are useless without His power. How being an “instrument” is not for other people to pat me on the back, but to glorify Him! And usually by September, the coughing begins…but praise the Lord- the cough is almost non-existent! I am so grateful and thankful! I wanted to stand up and shout on Sunday when He reminded me of what I felt like last year compared to now!
So whatever trial you are going through- no matter how big or small it is- try to remember all the things He has brought you through, and keep on praising Him!
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
There have been so many times when I have wanted to run away and hide- from people, situations, and just life in general. Have you ever seen a child cover their eyes and think that they are “hiding”? I remember my girls doing this when they were little, and it always made me smile.
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! Psalm 139:7
We may try to “hide”, but NOTHING is hidden from Him…and we can come into His presence and hide in the shadow of His wings. He is my Comforter, my Protector, my Helper, my Loving Father- and there is nothing as fulfilling as spending some quiet time with Him. I wrote this song a few days ago, after spending much of the day praying and “hiding” out with my Heavenly Father. What a comfort it is to know that He loves us, knows every detail about our lives, and that whenever we feel like running and “hiding”- we can run straight in to the arms of our loving Father.
I recently wrote this song as I remembered the first time I let go and raised my hand in a worship service.
I fought it for so long. Too worried about what others might think, I suppressed the desire to go forward to pray during an alter call, or do anything that might draw attention to me during a worship service. What if people think I am weak, or needy…or even crazy!
When my youngest was a baby, I would occasionally sing on the worship team. One Sunday morning, I felt the overwhelming desire to raise my hand as I sang a song. I felt my heart racing and knew I had to be obedient. I couldn’t do it alone, so I reached out and grabbed the hand of my friend who was singing beside me. It might have seemed strange to some, but not to her- she smiled at me as we held hands and sang praises to Him that day. It felt like a weight had been lifted off of me as I worshipped without reservation, and focused on nothing but praising Him. It was one of the first times I felt His presence as I sang.
It took years for Him to “undo” all my preconceived ideas about “worship”- what I thought it should sound and look like. The day I grabbed my friend’s hand was when I began to let go of my own hang-ups and when I started to truly “worship”. My heart’s desire is to know Him more intimately and to worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4:24
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
1 Corinthians 13:12
Even when I can’t see through my circumstances- I trust Him
Even in moments of doubt- I have faith in His promises
Even when I don’t understand- I knowHis thoughts and ways are higher