Archive for the ‘Ultimate Blog Challenge’ Category

Redeemed, Set Free, Transformed

What do we see when we live in the past? The good? The bad? The successes? The failures? What part of our history defines us?

I am who I am because of the circumstances I’ve lived through.

Do you think that, too?

I am who I am because of the circumstances I’ve survived.

Or are you more a survivor?

A couple years ago I was sinking low into my past. Not the successes, but the failures. I spent a whole summer in bed. Flowers made me cry. Things I loved stressed me out. 

I started seeing things in people. Traits in people I had surrounded myself with by choice that were reflections of other people I had intentionally separated myself from because of the effects their behaviors had on me.

I taught a Sunday school lesson to a group of high school students about transformation. Once a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, it can’t go back to being a caterpillar. It’s transformation is complete and permanent.  So is God’s gift of salvation when we accept it. 

We continue to grow and learn, but the transformation is complete and permanent. I am no longer who I was. I am not a prisoner to my past. 

I am FREE in Christ.

Yes, I bawl through this song just about every time I hear it or sing it. 

I am not chained to my past. I am not chained to a list of rules, regulations, or doctrine. I have been set free by the blood of Jesus. I am “Redeemed”!

Adopted Kings & Queens

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27

When I was making the list of song titles for this month, my teenage daughter immediately said I needed to use “Kings and Queens”. I needed a Q song, so it went on list.

Now, I’ve heard this song enough to be able to sing along, but I’ve never really attached to it, nor deeply pondered the meaning behind the words. As a matter of fact, I sorta have dismissed it because I think it’s a little vain for us to go around thinking of ourselves as kings and queens. I’m a child of the king, but that definitely doesn’t make me a princess.

So, I had to do some research on this one. Looking at the lyrics, it looks like a missions song. Get involved. Give your time. Give your money. Give your heart.

And it is.

But according to an interview AA gave (here), it is a song about orphans. 

I have a heart for children. Especially disadvantaged children. I’d bring them all home with me if I could.

However, aren’t we all orphans? At least until we accept God’s adoption plan?

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by brining us to his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5

We have been chosen by the one true King. Yes, perhaps we are kings and queens. God Himself chose us. Chose to sacrifice His own Son for the opportunity to save us. 

Sounds like we’re pretty special.

photo credit: unltoday via photopin cc

Psalm 73: Seeking Enough

I was so foolish and ignorant–I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. Psalm 73:22-25

When I set out last month to plan April’s blog posts for the A to Z Challenge, I had three goals in mind:

1. Share 26 Christian songs.
2. Find titles that would work with the A to Z theme.
3. Try to showcase a varied selection of artists and genres within 
        Christian music to reach the most people.

I didn’t go through my own personal collection and choose only from my favorite songs. I’ve chose some that I had never listed to myself before this challenge–like today’s.

When I went to write about “Oceans from the Rain” yesterday, another one I wasn’t overly familiar with, this little voice started whispering in the back of my head. This morning as I sit in the quiet to write this out before my family decides to enjoy our day off, that voice now has a long stick in it’s hand and is straight up jabbing me.

“I talking to you through these songs. Do you hear the theme yet? I am Enough! You have found what you are seeking.”

Seek. My word for 2014.

Yes, I set out on a journey. To find God. To seek His will. But in all honesty, I was really seeking ‘what’s next’.

Could it be that it’s time for me to stop seeking the next project, the next activity, the next BIG thing for God, and simply accept that He is the big thing?

Sometimes I feel so dumb. Really.

Like a dog chasing it’s tail, I’ve been chasing the One holding me in the palm of His nail-scarred hand.

The first line of this chorus, “Psalm 73 (My God’s Enough)” by Barlow Girl, says “My God’s enough for me.” He is. Even in my dumbest moments along the journey. 

What about you? Is God enough for you?

If you haven’t been following along, please go back and take a look at Matchless Majesty, Nothing Without You, and When Life Give You Rain, Give it to God! He’ll Make an Ocean!

photo credit: Wonderlane via photopin cc

When Life Gives You Rain, Give it To God! He’ll Make an Ocean!

I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick. “But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. 
Isaiah 43:16-19

Constants–those things in this life that never change. No matter what circumstances bring, you never have to wonder how the constant will respond. It is constant.



My evil stare, according to my husband.

Certain things are constant. We can count on them to remain steadfast and true.

Just like God.

God can take the rain and gather it together into an ocean. He can take all of my hurts, my failures, my sin, and turn it into my calling to help others. 

He reminds me that all I’ve seen him do is nothing compared to what He’s going to do in the future. 

That rain? It cleanses, purifies, and restores.

I really do like to spend time each summer sitting on a beach staring out at the ocean where He’s gathered all the rain.

Oceans From the Rain” by Seventh Day Slumber

photo credit: lonnypaul via photopin cc

The King is Coming

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First the believers who have died will rise again from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the air. Then we will be with the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Since Easter is on the horizon, I thought I would share a not so well-known song that focuses on the second coming of Christ.

Today’s song, “The King is Coming” by the Newsboys, may share the name of an old Gaither song, but it has a driving tempo and a rock feel. So, I think I’ll share both the old and the new “The King is Coming”. 

If you aren’t blessed by one, I have a feeling you’ll be blessed by the other! Or, perhaps you have a love for all genres, like me, and will be blessed by both!

photo credit: Waiting For The Word via photopin cc

Jesus In Disguise

‘For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ Matthew 25:42-43

Sometimes we just want to blend in. Not to be recognized, to stand out, to have any attention drawn to us.

Have you ever thought about wearing a disguise? A costume of sorts. Like celebrities do so they can go out into public without being devoured by fans.

Oftentimes things aren’t as they seem. They are disguised. Covered up.

Where did you see Jesus today? He revealed Himself to you. 

In the person we chose not to make eye contact with. In the person who needed a hand up. In the person who sat with nothing to eat while everyone else was having lunch.

Did you see Him or were you blinded by His disguise?

There is great analogy in Brandon Heath’s story of how “Jesus in Disguise” was written. 

photo credit: Feans via photopin cc

I Is For Incomprehensible

When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lamp stands. And standing in the middle of the lamp stands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” Revelation 1:12-18

I’m not a big scholar or student of Revelation. It’s not that it scares me; I know my salvation is secure. I just don’t understand it all, so I tend to study other books of the Bible more.

Truth be told, in the end times, when Jesus comes again, or when I get called home, I have no literal idea what that will be like. Sure. I have an image in my mind. A vague apparition based on what I’ve read, what I dream about, and yes, even a bit of what I hope it’s going to be like.

But in all reality, “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me sums it up for me. You can read about how Bart came to write the lyrics here.

photo credit: pasotraspaso via photopin cc