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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

 

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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

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)

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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

Not By My Strength

Tomorrow is the big day!  At early o’clock, I will be hopping on a plane to go train for my new job.  I wouldn’t say I’m a nervous wreck, but my brain will NOT quit racing!  One moment it’s “Yay, I’m so excited, this will be awesome!”…the next moment, “Oh my gosh, can I actually do this?  Am I cut out for it?  And I won’t get to see my hubby for a whole ten days!”  Yeah.

Naturally, those nervous, “can I do this?” thoughts tend to overshadow the excited thoughts.  And I get stuck there, wondering if I will succeed in this new job, or if I will just embarrass myself.  This is a huge transition.  It feels like I’m stepping off of the well-worn road I know so well to a brand-new, unfamiliar place.  My personality likes the predictable.  And this is not predictable.
The other night before bed, I opened my Bible to read Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”
I took a look at verse 12 – context, ya know?  It says, ” I know what is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” 
In that moment, the Lord reminded me that no matter my situation – whether I’m comfortable or uncomfortable, confident or discouraged, in familiar territory or in a new place – no matter what – He will provide the strength I need for the situation.
Philippians 4 13
A concept I’ve heard many times?  Yes.  A good reminder?  YES!
So that thing you’re facing that seems impossible?  That situation that makes you hyperventilate to just think about?  You can’t do it on your own strength – but you CAN do it on God’s.
Blessings,
Beth

Lay Down the Burden

The other day, I prayed that the Lord would help me understand the depth of my sin.  I know I’m a sinner, but that knowledge didn’t have the impact I felt it should.  So I asked the Lord for help.  And he came through.

It’s kinda like praying for patience; the only way to grow patience skills is to practice…which means we have to face situations that test our limits.  Hard.  Asking the Lord to impact me with the depth of my sin meant an overwhelming sense of guilt.

The guilt felt heavy, tangible.  Events from the days and weeks prior raced through my mind.  “Oh, I should have handled that differently.  Why do I think like that?  I hate that I deal with ______ like that.  I should have outgrown that by now!”  These words and more were all I could think of.  So I started telling the Lord.  Told him all these terrible things I’d done and asked him to help me get it together.

Here’s what I think.  We need to feel and know the weight and guilt of our sin.  The end of Romans 3 talks about righteousness through faith.  It says, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22,23).  Ouch.

But as much as we need to know the weight and guilt of our sin, we need to know the Joy and Peace we receive when we begin to live for Jesus.  Acts 3:19-20a says, “Repent, therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…”

See, laying down the burden – giving it to God – allows us to live in the knowledge that we are sinners, while understanding that we are forgiven!  That is where the joy and peace comes from.  That’s how we can sleep at night.

Acts 3:19-20a

When I gave up all of the things I felt so guilty about – those sins – to the Lord, I felt refreshed.  I hope you can find the same refreshing!

Blessings,

Beth

Seeking Him

Posted on

Hello!  Thank you for taking a moment to visit my newest attempt at blogging.

After beginning two eating disorder-related blogs, it feels like it’s time to move forward.  Not to forget what I wrote in the days when anorexia ruled me, but to continue growing and seeking after what the Lord has for me.

Have you ever experienced a “dry time”, when you feel like you are a million miles away from God?  That’s been me for the last few weeks.  Yesterday, while walking, I poured my heart out to the Lord, asking him why I felt so far away, so distant?  “What happened to the closeness I felt a few months ago?  What happened to the closeness I felt in college?  What happened to the closeness I felt when writing those spirit-led blog posts?”

It seemed like God nudged me in that moment.  “Write.  Write about what I reveal to you in my word.  Write about the things that encourage you and the things that challenge you.  Seek me, and write.”

So I’m writing and seeking – with my whole heart.

I pray that God will use me to encourage or challenge or_________ you.  I will simply do as I feel led, and write.  I’ll let God take care of the rest.  🙂

Jeremiah 29 13

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Blessings, friends!

Beth