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Music is Powerful

This morning before pulling out of the carport to head to work, I decided it was time to take out the Christmas CD and put something different in.  I shuffled through the stack of playlists burned on to CD’s and found one that had nothing written on the front.  I popped it in the CD player and immediately recognized the first song, and the second and so on.  I thought for a moment about where this CD came from and then I remembered – my closest college pal had put the playlist together for me.  She chose songs that the two of us listented to often; songs with special memories attached to them.  The whole way to work, I sang along, laughed, reminisced and ultimately, felt like I had just gotten a great big hug from Marisa.

This scene made me think about the power that music has.  It can make our emotions soar joyfully, or all but pull tears from our eyes.  It can soothe, comfort, inspire – the list goes on.  And then I started thinking about why music is such a powerful tool when we use it to worship the Lord.

We know that worship and music went hand-in-hand during biblical times.  Psalms 95:1 says, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” (emphasis mine).  There are many MANY more examples of singing and praising God with music.

But what about those times when you come to church, feeling distraught, anxious, upset?  You hear the first few notes of a song and something stirs inside of you.  You begin to sing, to remember that God is powerful and good.  And the heaviness begins to lift.  While looking for scriptures about music, one really caught my attention.  It appears in the story of Saul and David, right after David becomes an armor bearer to Saul.  1 Samuel 16:23 reads, “And whenever the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand, and Saul would be relieved and feel better, and the evil spirit would depart from him.”

I think God created music with a special plan in mind.  Music has this way of easing our spirit and helping us open up to worship God and listen for His voice.  It reminds me of water – gentle enough to wash the most delicate skin, yet strong enough to carve the Grand Canyon.

music

I’m so curious to know your thoughts on this idea.  Please let me know what you think!

Blessings,

Beth

 

To Be Joyful

I remember singing the song as a child, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”  It repeated that line, over and over, changing pitch, but reinforcing those words from scripture: Rejoice, always.

I have to admit, joy hasn’t been coming so easily to me lately.  I felt drug down by work in a retail,  “stuff oriented” setting, especially during the hectic holidays.  And I thought I had done well with masking it, at least while away from home during the day.  Maybe those less perceptive didn’t notice, but one person did – and she called me out on it.  Not in a mean-spirited, “why are you so cranky?” sort of way, but in a “I’ve noticed you haven’t quite been yourself lately” way.

It took me by surprise.  It’s not that I’ve been fake towards others – my smile is typically genuine.  But I didn’t expect someone who wasn’t my husband, mom or dad, or best friend to pick up on my less chipper mood.  And it forced me to think.

Perhaps the retail world is a tough adjustment for me.  However, the Bible calls me (us) to live above those difficult circumstances and tough adjustments.  Philippians 4:4 reads,  “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

If there’s one thing I learned in the Bible courses I took in college, when a word or phrase is repeated in the Bible, it should also have a sign beside it, “LOOK AT THIS!  PAY ATTENTION!”  We are told two times – TWO TIMES – to rejoice.

Rejoice

Rejoice

So my goal?  Despite my feelings, I will endeavor to rejoice.  Easy?  Maybe not.  Worth it?  I think so.

Blessings,

Beth

Moving Forward

One thing that’s easy to forget about? Sometimes, there is ice utterly hidden under a soft, innocent-looking blanket of snow. I happened to find one of these places the other day. It went like this: step, step, wobble, slip, wobble, THUNK. I landed on the pointiest part of my hip, and boy oh boy. Ouch.

So why on earth am I telling you this story? There are two reasons:

1. So that you know that you’re not the only one who falls on hidden ice (unless I’M the only one…)
2. While laying in bed that night, a thought-provoking idea came to mind.

And I had to share.

For those of you who know me or have read any of my other blogs (most recently, here) you know that I’ve fought, and somewhat overcome Anorexia.  I say “somewhat overcome” because I still fight it, or at least parts of it – and here is where the rubber meets the road with my little story.

So I’m laying in bed, purposefully on my left side, so as not to cause unnecessary pain.  I feel sleepy, but a thought jolts me back awake.  This pain I feel in my hip, laying here in bed, isn’t much different than the pain I felt in my hips during my worst days of Anorexia.  I remembered the nights of finding just the right position to sleep in that wouldn’t be uncomfortable to my ill-padded hip bones.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been struggling more with my body and accepting it as it is.  Some of those ED (Eating Disorder) thoughts have surfaced. I try to push them back down to where I laid them to rest nearly two years ago.  But they can be like dandelions – until every last bit of the root is gone, it keeps growing back.  Yuck.

The good news?  God always brings to mind bits and pieces of his word to encourage me.  1 Peter 1:14-15 came to mind:

“Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance.  Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct”

In this passage, Peter encourages the reader to be prepared for the time that Christ is revealed by not returning to their old, “ignorant” ways of living.  We can all relate to this – regardless of the age we became a believer, there was a time in our life when we had to intentionally choose God.  There is an old way that we turned from.

1 peter 1 14

Have you slipped back to some of those old ways?  Mull that over.  And know that God is the only one who can pull you from that pit.

Blessings, and a Happy New Year!

Beth

A Christmas Heart

Hey guys, how’s it going?  I’m so sorry I haven’t written here for ages.  I could make a zillion excuses…most of them work related.  But the reality is that in all the busyness that is life, I just didn’t feel like writing.  It made me feel dry again – much like I did when I began writing this blog months ago.

In a moment of despair over feeling a sense of distance from the Lord, my sweet man said “You know, it seems like you always feel closer to God when you’re writing your blog.”  I think he has a point.  So I began to think about what I would write.  One idea keeps coming back to me.  Maybe one of you dear people needs to hear it as much as I did!

Driving home from work.  It’s dark, snowy, cold – and my mood matches (well, maybe minus the snowy part…).  Working retail during the holidays often means an interesting schedule, and it was just getting me down.  Christmas this year felt so different than ever before, and I felt robbed.  I fumbled around for a Christmas CD, put it in and skipped a few songs in until I came to a melody that sounded soothing.  Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie… Tears sprang to my eyes as the song continued.  The last bit of the first verse prodded deep inside my heart.  Yet in thy dark street shineth, the everlasting light.  The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight

In a dark world, Christ, born of a virgin, came to rescue us from that darkness – the fears of all the years.

Isaiah 9 6

In that moment, I realized that feeling “robbed” of my Christmas was has more to do with my heart and attitude than my job.  Working on Sunday morning doesn’t prevent me from reflecting on the truth of Christmas and singing songs of the season.  I can still worship and be excited about the reason I celebrate Christmas.

I choose to ask God to set my heart right so that I can celebrate this Christmas.

Blessings,

Beth

What we Share

The other day, I made this great, easy crockpot meal.  All it took to get dinner on the table?  A few sweet potatoes, an onion, chicken and butter (and a little salt and pepper for fun).  It cooked all day, and made the house smell lovely, and tasted just great.  The next day, I wanted to tell everyone (EVERYONE) about this awesome, easy crockpot dinner.  And then it hit me.

What if I shared the Gospel like I shared this?  What if I had passion and excitement for the truth of God like I did for this sweet potato chicken recipe?  I felt ashamed.  I can tell every woman I see about this recipe I learned about yesterday, yet I can’t tell a single person about this life-giving Gospel story I’ve known since childhood.  There is something wrong with this picture,

Have I made vast improvement in sharing about God since this realization?  No.  No I haven’t.  But perhaps this little post will act as a challenge.  Does it challenge you?

Mark 16:15 says, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”  All creation.

mark 16 15

What will you share?

Blessings,

Beth

Provision

I recently spoke with a gal who has some big changes coming her way  – and these changes will bring with them a significant financial impact.  She’s excited for the changes, but the finance piece?  Not so much.

I think we’ve all been there.  That place of knowing our needs will be changing, but seeing no hope of additional cash-flow.  It’s issues like this that I find myself wanting to take into my own hands.  I need to make more money.  I need to find another job.  We look to ourselves for a solution, rather than looking to the One who can actually provide what we need.

There are two promises I try to remember in these situations:

1.  “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

2.  Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-27, 33-34)

No where does the Lord promise to make us rich, but in both passages, He instructs us to not worry because He will meet our needs.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  God will meet our needs.  We simply have to seek Him.

The awesome thing is that God provides in unique ways.  Sometimes an unexpected check shows up in the mail, or we’re given an unexpected pay raise.  Maybe God will provide a less expensive apartment, or another job.  God provides according to the “riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 6 25

So, dear one, let God provide for you.  The horizon may seem dark and scary, but it’s only a matter of time until the sun rises.

Blessings,

Beth

Burned

I’m sure it’s happened to you at some point in life: you follow your conscience, do what you believe is right, only to have it turn around and bite you. You’ve been burned. The first time it happens? Eh, we can deal with it. The second time? At least for me, it causes me to be leery to work to do good to others. If you are burned while lighting a match, do you eagerly light the next one?

The other day, I was feeling exceptionally burned. My attempts to be kind and compassionate to people had backfired – two separate times. I was about ready to just give up…to quit trying to do good to others.

But then, out of nowhere, this voice whispered into my heart “Never tire of doing good”. Uh…what?

I hopped on to google to find the reference for the verse so I could actually read it.

“And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” (2 Thessalonians, 3:13)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the verses before this, Paul writes about how he has heard that some of the believers in the area had become idle and essentially, weren’t contributing. Paul urges the readers to keep doing good – and to not stop, no matter how tired.  I felt so encouraged after reading this passage.

So I got burned.  Does that mean I should stop sharing the love of Jesus through my actions.  Not hardly.  I think it’s these moments that shape us into who we’re supposed to be.

My goal this week?  To keep doing good (to people).  Regardless.

Blessings,

Beth

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