Toes

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It’s another one of those blustery Spring days. Outside, a powerful wind tosses the trees and turns the clouds a deep indigo that usually signals storms. This is my favorite kind of weather–when the clouds pile on top of one another and you can feel the extra charge in the air…something brewing. I’m inside, listening to the song “Toes” by Lights, a song I discovered two years ago today–the day my husband asked me to marry him.

April 20, 2015 I was in my parents’ house, listening to the same song, watching black and green clouds build outside my window and feeling anticipation in the air. I didn’t know yet that Tim was going to propose later that evening, but I knew that was the next step for us, and the words of the song seemed to fit perfectly with the season of unknowns and possibilities that defined the season ahead.

Oh you capture my attention

Carefully listening, don’t want to miss a thing, keeping my eyes on you. 

Oh, you capture my attention

I’m anticipating, I’m watching and waiting for you to make your move. 

Got me on my toes. 

As with lots of songs that really mean something to me, I find myself singing it to God, as a prayer, an anthem, one of those journal entries of my heart that He can see.

The more I think about it, my whole life could be summed up this way–on my toes–literally. Living every moment to its fullest, not wanting to miss anything that God was doing. When I was a child, my parents taught me that each day was a gift from God. I remember once telling my mom how blessed I was just to know that God had made me. The excitement of life’s possibilities were often overwhelming to me, sometimes keeping me up at night, often causing me to break into wild, silly dances where I would twirl or prance around the living room on my tiptoes for no reason. Life was just that exciting, and I just had to express my joy. I was charged. And God did that.

Now as an adult, I still feel like I’m on my toes, waiting on God with my questions in hand, but often with a very different attitude. There have been times where I’ve allowed the imminent struggles and speed bumps of life to slow me down, dampen my enthusiasm, and even cloud my view of God. Often, I find myself approaching God with an attitude that’s more cynical than hopeful.

I need to regain that childlike wonder. Because after all, God hasn’t changed. And when He reaches in and plucks those chords in my heart, I feel everything coming alive again and I remember, yes–this is what I was made for!

Why not live in that place always? Not ignoring the stresses of life, but responding to them in a way that demonstrates my expectant worship of God and my certainty that He is writing a wonderful story, painting a gorgeous picture, scripting a beautiful song.

John 7:38 says that when we know God and keep His Word, out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water–the Holy Spirit. We have everything we need to live in this place of hopeful anticipation.

God, ignite me. Let even the unknowns and unexpecteds of life turn to joy as I anticipate what you’re doing.

Oh, You capture my attention

I’m anticipating, I’m watching and waiting for You to make Your Move

Got me on my toes. 

 

–Song credit: “Toes” by artist Lights, album Siberia.–

 

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Spoiler Alert…

It happened again. I sat in the movie theater, barely seeing the preview of the Olympics flash by me because I was so captivated by the song blasting through the speakers. I’m shocked at how the very words and warnings we need to hear as a culture are consistently flooding our iPods, theaters, and TVs, and we still don’t seem to get it.

Fellow Christians, have you heard the words of Katy Perry’s single “Rise”?

Listen…really, and consider what we’re up against.

“I won’t just survive/Oh you will see me thrive

Can’t write my story/I’m beyond the archetype.

I won’t just conform/no matter how you shake my core,

‘Cause my roots/they run deep.

Oh ye of so little faith./Don’t doubt it. Don’t doubt it.

Victory is in my veins./I know it. I know it.

And I will not negotiate./I’ll fight it. I’ll fight it.

I will transform.”

I’m stunned yet again at how God can shout His Truth, using the voice and talent of someone who doesn’t acknowledge Him (that I’m aware of).

This was back in the summer, obviously, since this song was used as a TV spot for the Olympics. But I don’t need to reiterate that we are embroiled in a battle that goes far deeper than the crunch of extreme sports. Whether we’d like to acknowledge it or not, we are faced with the eerie potential of a leader taking office who will likely detonate what has been simmering beneath the surface. We’ve seen it coming…or maybe we haven’t…a mounting opposition to the Gospel and those who choose to live it out loud.

But this isn’t a political rant as much as a cry for the sleeping children of freedom to awaken. And I don’t just mean Americans. I mean those of us who have been brought from death to life, who know the Freedom that comes from being filled with the Spirit of God–the Founder of Life and True Liberty. The words of Perry’s song give voice to what’s in my heart and what I’m hearing resound from believers across the nation.

This is not a political battle. It’s a spiritual one. We’ve known this all along: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against…the powers of darkness in the heavenly places” Ephesians 6:12. But it’s more apparent now than I’ve ever seen it–all across the world. Darkness is becoming more and more manifest in broad daylight, stripping off its masks and pretensions, no longer hiding its design. But what happens when the sky darkens? The stars shine brighter.

“The path of the righteous is like the dawn, shining brighter and brighter until full day,” Proverbs 4:18.

Listen to the words of this chorus:

“When the fire’s at my feet again

And the vultures all start circling/they’re whispering,

‘You’re out of time’

But still I rise.

This is no mistake/no accident

When you think the final nail is in/think again

Don’t be surprised/I will still rise.”

This is not the time to negotiate. This is not a time for compromise. And this is certainly not a time for panic and defeat. This is the time to keep our windows open, like Daniel, and pray to the God of heaven, Who is not planning on abdicating His Throne simply because a “progressive” culture does not favor Him. I believe God has so much more for this country and we, His People, should not be ashamed. We should not be full of anger, fear, and strife. We have the opportunity to stand firm in our faith and resist the enemy, knowing that these same kinds of trials are happening to our brothers and sisters all over the world (1 Peter 5:9). This is a time for unity. This is a time to stand.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what the future holds for this country, for the world, for me, even. But I do know one thing–two, actually. God is still God and He will never quit or be deposed or voted out. He still has a Plan and He’s calling His People to wake up and shake off our slumber to be part of it. Otherwise, we will be scattered by circumstances and live in confusion and despair and disillusionment. That is not how we were meant to live.

I want to encourage everyone who believes–it’s not over. No matter the outcome of the elections. God is not going anywhere, and nor should we. Remember it’s not so much about who you are as it is about Whose you are! I don’t know who our next president will be, but I do know the One Who is Victorious: Jesus the Great I AM. My God. My King. And that is a Victory celebration I know I will get to take part in.

The Word of God is clear. “Today, when you hear His Voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15).

“In the final days, flattery will corrupt those who abandon the promise, but those who know their God will be strong and take action (Daniel 11:32).

We serve a Mighty God and He is among us. He will never leave us or forsake us. That’s why I titled this post “Spoiler Alert.” Because we know the ending of all this. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our Faith. If we keep our eyes on Him, we will always win.

“As for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast Love, answer me in your saving faithfulness” (Psalm 69:13).

***VOTE THIS WEEK! AND PRAY! PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!!!***

Songs for the Seasons~”Heroes”

IMG_1341.JPGWelcome to February, everyone!

I’m excited about this new category I’m introducing… I hope to add to it at least once or twice a month, but definitely before each month ends. Growing up, I measured time by the books I was reading and the songs that captured my attention. As the months turned into years, I realized that a certain song could not only trigger a single memory, but paint a whole scene, bringing me right back to what was happening when that song was my favorite. As I got older, songs highlighted more of what God was teaching me in specific seasons, which is why I’m calling this category Songs for the Seasons.

I started asking the Lord for songs, so that I wouldn’t just be looking back at my favorite music for memory’s sake, but looking ahead, expectantly awaiting what He would teach me in the month before me. It became a regular and beautiful thing, with God putting His Finger on specific songs throughout the month and each song contained a theme that followed me for that month. I began to look forward to the songs and the different ways in which He would point them out to me. Each time was completely unique and special, and I was often brought to tears over this personal and intimate way that He was caring for me. The songs served as reminders that He knew what I was going through each step of the way and was ready to equip me by providing the tools and the power I needed to take the next steps and learn the lessons He had for me at a particular time.

This tradition has continued for several years and I have lists of songs for each season in my journals. These past couple months, my attention waned, and though God gave me songs, I didn’t allow myself to focus on them as I had in the past.

But just last night, the end of January, I was in prayer and received what I wasn’t even sure I was asking for.  God gave me a song…and it’s the type of song you want to pore over diligently until you know the words—not a song that preaches at you, telling you what you need to believe, but one that you feel the need to sing until you believe it.

If you haven’t checked out Bethel’s newest album “Brave New World”, you should; you will be blessed! https://bethelmusic.com/albums/brave-new-world/

The album title alone is applicable to my life right now…a glorified way of saying that I’m in a new place and I often find myself acting out more bravery than I feel. A new world requires bravery, and you don’t always get to prepare as much as you’d like. In places where you are comfortable, you don’t feel this inadequacy, this desperation for God to fill you with Himself, because nothing else will do. The “brave new world” drives you to your knees for what you lack, “overwhelmed by the conviction that you have nowhere else to go,” as Abraham Lincoln put it.

The song God gave me was one I had only heard once in passing…“Heroes.”

You’d think from the title that the song is about being heroic, but the first lines are “Let the heroes rest/Let the striving cease.”

This song highlights the choice that lies before each of us every day–a choice to trust while “in the mystery”, knowing that in the midst of things you don’t understand, God doesn’t change. The chorus is a beautiful refrain…

“Awake my soul to sing/with your Breath in me/I will worship.

/You taught my feet to dance upon disappointment/And I will worship.”

This is the type of song you can declare in any season…because, let’s face it…even in seasons where everything is going “perfectly” and you are doing God’s will, there will always be something to surrender to Him, something that didn’t go your way, some part of your will, your mind, your heart to give to the Lord. And this sacrifice isn’t a burden…

This song speaks of the joy in all that He is making new…a reason to choose to sing Hallelujah! To find everything in Him when we’ve looked in vain for it elsewhere. A reason to cling to Him–the only One who can teach us to dance, to scale the heights, to rejoice.

I am so thankful for a song that can be my anthem for this season. Thankful for a God whose patience and limitless love don’t ever end.