Sunday, January 27, 2019

Raise a Hallelujah

In my last post I shared with you a few verses to a song I've been singing over and over. Because my one word this year is SING, and I am singing friends. I think just maybe I will sing a little more with you.

Toward the end of the song the lead singer speaks out these words as the melody of the song continues to play:

"Begin to raise your own Hallelujah
There's a song written on your heart that only you can sing
When you sing enemies flee
When you sing prison walls come falling down
When you sing heaven invades the earth
Raise it like a banner
Raise it like a flag
Raise it in the middle of the storm
Let it rise
Like a symphony to the King
Sing a little louder!"
Raise a Hallelujah

Those words are on repeat in my mind. Mainly the lines about singing and enemies fleeing and prison walls falling down and heaven invading the earth. Why? Friends, when I begin to sing - to give Him all my praise and worship - I witness those very things take place.

Maybe it's only in my mind but as I sing I experience the battle being won. I'm reminded that victory is sure.

And I need this reminder as the battle of lies versus truth plays out in my mind. I know we are not to give our enemy too much power, but we also cannot minimize his realness and the fact that he is high bent on stealing our joy. As my dear friend wrote in an email - the enemy is trying to get me from every angle.

My continual response now is to sing, and to sing louder and louder.

There are times when the singing isn't literal singing, but it takes the form of speaking out the truth of who He is - the truth of His goodness, love, grace and mercy. And the truth that even though the world may seem like it's spinning out of control, we are not without hope. He reigns! He is a promise-keeper. The promises He makes throughout the Bible are promises we can bank on.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20

I had coffee yesterday with two women who are part of a small group I have the privileged of leading. In the two and half hours we spent together we covered a range of topics.

We talked about King David and how even though he was a man after God's own heart, he stumbled often but God did not let him fall - though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand (Psalm 37:24). There's such encouragement in that for us.

We talked about how our heart aches for family and friends who do not know God, or who have turned away from Him. Yet, we proclaimed the reckless love of our God and the hope we have that He will chase them down. I know it's a hope I must cling to.

We shared our testimonies and marveled at the undeniable truth of God. When you hear our stories what other explanation can there be? But God and Only God!

We spoke of our shared desires to be bolder in our faith. To have a greater fear of God, rather than a fear of how another may respond to the truth we speak. But please God, help us speak the truth in love.

We dove into politics and social issues - topics we are trained as leaders to divert from. But there we were discussing these things. At one point, even though everything we said pointed back to God and the truth of His word, and how that truth includes we are to love despite our differences, I made us pause to admit we had crossed over to topics I should not allow. I took a moment to ensure there were no hurt feelings. I knew ultimately we each approached these topics with a desire for Him to help us to love like Christ. That even when it's hard, when our differences scare us, may we show up regardless and love.

Why do I tell you about this coffee date? I believe it's because in those two and a half hours the three of us each raised our own Hallelujah. We sang the songs of our hearts - the realness of hard seasons but the truth that God is who He says He is. It was our symphony to our King.

I drove home to that song - Raise a Hallelujah - and once again marveled at the awesomeness of our God. When we sing, heaven really does invade the earth. And isn't that because He dwells in us so as we raise our Hallelujah's we do our part in bringing heaven to earth?

When you walk into our home I have these words on a frame: Love deeply, welcome gladly, serve faithfully, so that in all things God may be praised. This is taken from 1 Peter 4:8-11. This is where I will end today - in all things may God be praised! May we raise our Hallelujah's to Him and then watch the enemy - our real enemy - flee. Watch strongholds be broken, relationships restored, the blind see, and so much more. Watch God do more than we can ask or imagine.

And then sing a little louder!


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

My One Word :: Sing

Hello friends. 

Being here seems foreign to me. The last time I sat down to write a post (or to write for that matter) was April 2018. It took me several attempts to even login this morning. Why am I here now? I honestly do not know other than to say I do give thought to this space on occasion and wonder if I could return to sharing here on a more frequent basis. I never seem to come to a sureness.

Yet, here I am. I think it may have something to do with it being a new year. And not only a new year, but a year of new beginnings.

My employer recently moved from one town to another (closer to home). We are in a completely new space (new everything!), and I also enter my tenth year with this company. A new year and new space is allowing for a new beginning, or a fresh start, which I have discovered I desperately need.

I also turn 50 this year. I close out a decade and begin a new one.

So yes, a new year with new beginnings! Why not begin writing again? Yes? No?

I am not sure where to begin though. I have always asked God to make the act of writing flow more naturally. I dislike the constant hardness of transferring thoughts from my mind to the written form. I seek perfection or the ability to write more like her (her being a long list of others who do this better). If I cannot be perfect or like her than why bother?

I know, such wrong thinking. I remain so very good at the wrong thinking. But God! New year, new beginning. He's at work in my mind and in my heart.

As I leave one decade and begin another, this is the clarity He has given me... I have given the enemy too much occupancy in my mind for far too long.

Not pretty enough.
Not thin enough.
Not smart enough.
Not enough.

And the not enough's give way to feelings of not-belonging. I see how much the not-enough's and not-belonging have impacted the extent to which I withdraw from connection. I have stopped showing up, unless if feels safe to do so.

In addition to the wrong thinking and it's effects, military life and far too much time apart from my husband is having it's own effects. We are pushing through and even though I don't understand or quite know how to explain all the emotions and hardness of this season, what I do know is our God is faithful and trustworthy one hundred percent of the time.

And though I feel like I am constantly stumbling in all my different roles, I believe His promise in Psalm 37:24 so very much, "though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand." Psalm 37:24

As I rest in His sovereignty and goodness, the hardness doesn't magically disappears but each day I experience His faithfulness to provide all that I need to make it through another day.

What does all this have to do with my one word -- the title of this post?

I sat with a dear friend recently - one who shows up regardless of how many times I tell her I remain in this place of believing I am not good enough. In a place of wishing He created me to be someone else - anyone but me. But if all He has created, and He created us in His image, is good, doesn't that apply to me too? I even went as far to say that I had begun to question if I was really a Christ follower.

As I said those words out loud to her the flood gates opened. The enormity of the lies... for I know I love the LORD our God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength (Deut. 6:5).

And then gradually through worship songs He led me to my one word. I saw how I needed to SING louder than my unbelief. And oh how I have been singing....

"I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me."
Raise a Hallelujah

"And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God"
Goodness of God

There's a song in my soul
And I feel it stirring in me
This I know for sure
That Your love is like a flood
And Your mercy never ending
I give my song to You
Song in my Soul

So friends, I'm going to sing in the middle of this hardness. I'm going to sing louder and louder of His goodness and love. "Louder and louder you're going to hear my praises roar."

Let's sing a little louder together, shall we?