Glorifying God With Terrible Singing…

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Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! ~ Psalm 95:1-2

This weekend at church I had a very unusual experience.

I actually heard the voice of a fellow congregant singing behind me. His voice was loud enough to rise above the booming band and he was a perfectly terrible singer. He was off-key and rigid in tone and the sheer volume of his voice sent shivers down my spine. He even valiantly attempted to harmonise at one point but didn’t quit accomplish the brave task.

Yes, it was all a little humorous at first. I would be lying if I said I didn’t giggle to myself a bit. But eventually I got use to him. And then, surprisingly, I thanked God for him.

Hearing the congregation sing is uncommon for me because my church has a concert-style of worship that is accompanied with pumping speakers which echo into our acoustically challenged warehouse church. This is common in church’s today, but it doesn’t lend itself well to hearing the voices around you.

Don’t get me wrong there is nothing unfaithful with this style of worship. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is sinful.

However there is something fantastical about actually hearing the voices of the saints lifting up the name of Christ. Even poor-sounding voices. Even grandma Mary two rows back with her methodical and wiggly singing that harkens back to the hymnal era. Even Lonny the retired worship leader who sings like he’s on stage because at one time he was and so his praises are comparable to a lounge singer. And even the man behind me who couldn’t hit a correct note no matter how hard he tried.

Some might say that it was harmful for me to hear the man behind me because it clearly distracted me. And that’s true. But his off-key melodies were distracting for all of two minutes and then he helped me worship better. Because after that humorous two minutes passed, I recognized the unity we had. I remembered I’m not alone. And then I was inclined to belt out my praises with more vigor and thankfulness.

Truth be told, I get distracted in worship for far sillier reasons. This one may have been the best short-lived distraction yet.

When our worship is sincere we all sound like Andrea Bocelli to Jesus. No matter how feeble our voices are, God receives the offering. Sometimes (if not, always) we need to hear each other sing. Sometimes it infuses our worship. Even when we sound terrible.

I thank God for gifted musicians who get on stage and lead us fickle folks into worship. And I also thank God for the many voices…many souls…who sing whole-heartedly, despite their musical weakness’.

Because it truly is a joyful noise.

 

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Dear Sister’s, Humility Is Calling And Its More Important Then A Green Smoothie…

humble

This post was originally written in January 2013, and has been edited.

Sister’s, I know this topic has been discussed to death. It is the dead horse, and everyone just keep’s kicking. I get it. I’m tired of it too. And yet, here comes the “but”.

It has to be kicked. Because although we think the horse is dead, it’s still very much alive. January has come and gone and whether or not that diet of yours has stuck with the passing days is irrelevant.

Here’s the thing, I am not about to tell you not to bother with your current fitness regiment or diet or all-avocado and lemon juice detox cleanser you are trying. I don’t think doing any of the above is immodest and in fact, I encourage you to go for it! Steward the bodies the Lord has entrusted you with, and do it joyfully if at all possible. At the very least be thankful you have legs you can run with! Being well is important, so go do it.

But…    (yes there’s another but)

End all of it, if your being motivated by the cultures view of beauty or your doing it to impress those around you. And, please oh please, do not make it priority number one on your life list.

You will likely stop reading now, because you think you don’t struggle with any of these idea’s. And if that’s the case then you’re literally the only one. So let’s take a quick look at these danger’s before we eliminate ourselves out of the equation. At the very least, just humor me and keep reading.

Isaiah 3:16-26 talk’s of the Lord’s judgement on Israel in great detail. There are plenty of reasons for His wrath, but there is one scenario I find fascinating. It reads in verse’s 16-17,

The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet, therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.”

In those days, some women would wear headbands, bracelets, scarves, handbags and anklets around their feet. This was the culture’s standard of beauty. Sound familiar? They did this with their neck’s stretched out to impress those around them and show off their outward appearance. Sure they were polished and put together, all things we as women desire to be, but God looked at them and saw arrogance, conceit and self-indulgence. And His judgement is fierce.

Being preoccupied with yourself in this vein and egotistical way is ugly in the eyes of God. We have to be very honest with ourselves and question what our motivation is to buy the latest trends and maintain a certain body weight. Are we overly preoccupied with it? Do we think about it more than we think about our neighbor in need? Do we look at other women and judge them secretly for how they look? Are we trying to impress our co-workers, friends, our husbands friends or our hard-to-please family members?

Answer truthfully because this kind of self-indulgence is hideous and God hates it.

God’s judgement for Israel’s vain ladies continues in verse 24, “Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty.”

Ladies, it is clear all through-out scripture that our main goal as women is to live sacrificially. We are called to be humble. And in being humble we will think less of ourselves and our need to be pretty and more about those around us.

Women who are preoccupied with doing good works and godliness will not be idle and lazy, they will spend their time on the things of God. The way they look outwardly will not be priority number one. Humble women spend little time thinking about what they want for themselves and lots of time thinking about service to others.

It is a tall order that I fail continuously. But sisters, we are called to be humble.

Our son’s and daughters need to see us caring for others and seeking Christ. Not watching us stand in the mirror, pulling at our faces and complaining about baby weight. I’m willing to bet our kids over-hear us talking to our friends about big hips, diets and make-up techniques exceedingly more then our deep need and love for Christ.

Try with me, will you? Try to stop talking about it. All of it. The diets. The self-loathing. The judging others. And humble yourself. Return to the cross. Receive His grace again. And let it spur you on in good works. For His glory alone.

I will let Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 4:8 conclude my point. Let these words seep into your thoughts as you continue on in faith this year.

“For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

letmedirect

The Dangerous Explosion Of Celebrity Pastoring: Popularity. Celebrity Pastoring. Whatever you want to call it, it is a real danger. And I’m convinced it can be a danger to pastors who even preach in relatively small churches. You don’t have to be popular on a national scale to think of yourself as popular. This needs to end.

Are You Fighting The New Greed: I truly think I need a social media break soon. I totally resonate with this post and I think I am going to have to come back to it often.

What Is Your Doing Saying?: After just finishing the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, I resonated with this post. We all need to be reminded of how are faith is an action.

Jimmy Fallon – Why I’m Single: This is cute.

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Marriage, Lent And Fifty Shades Of Grey…

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. ~ Hebrews 12:1

Both my grandparents passed away last year. They were married for 69 years and they had the most ordinary marriage you could think of. But one thing that was not ordinary was the fact that they finished their race well and together. My grandpa stood by his wife’s bed-side till the very end stroking her arm and telling her she was beautiful.

Valentines Day is approaching, so naturally I have marriage on my mind. I think of how much stuff I need to lay aside in order to follow in my grandparents footsteps and run my race well. And to love my husband better. Of course I must put away sin, but what are some of the weights that pull at my faith and threaten my spiritual health? And maybe my marriage too.

The writer of Hebrews urges his readers (us) to run our race well by getting rid of things that will weaken our running.

Which makes the beginning of Lent (next week) perfectly timed. Lent is all about minimising the weight in order to focus in on Christ in remembrance of His atoning love. We go on a journey with Christ from the last supper to His death on Good Friday. And we do this by fasting from the things that distract us from Him.

It is amazing how practicing Hebrews 12:1 in the action of Lent can positively affect my marriage.

Because the minute I lean into Jesus and put away things that bring me down, the direct result will be beneficial to my marriage. As soon as I put aside the comparisons that plague me on social media and the unhealthy habits that follow me wherever I go; I begin to experience more freedom to run with Christ with endurance and by extension – serve my husband with joy.

This Valentines Day is not about going to see a pornographic movie to jump-start your marriage.

You see, the relationship that is portrayed in the highly talked about (and blogged about)movie, Fifty Shades of Grey becomes less excitingly enticing when we view our marital companionship through the eyes of God.

Bondage and whips is not going to save your marriage. In fact if you are entertaining the idea that spicing things up is what will spur your marriage on in love and affection, you will be disappointed in only a matter of time. I’m not suggesting that having a healthy sex life is unimportant. But I implore you that the way in which you get the happy sex life has more to do with how your running the race of faith together then what kind of sex toys you own.

If your sex life is suffering, ask yourself how your faith is doing. Are you finding the race of life too challenging because you’re holding on to sin? And how about some of those extra weights? The social media, email, TV, comfy couch’s or maybe even friends?

This Lenten season I hope to fast from different things at different times, not to give me a look of piety, but to hopefully help me run faster.

I’m on a unique race that is different then yours and I want to run unencumbered by things and stuff and sin. And I want to win my race by keeping my eyes focused on Jesus; remembering His sacrificial love and holding fast to His promises to complete the good work He began in me.

And I pray that I will hold my husband’s hand and we will run the race together till the very end.

Happy Valentines Day!

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

letmedirect

The Sin Of Comparison: We all know that comparison steals joy, and yet we all do it. Especially women. I so needed to read this.

10 Reasons Why You Should Quit Watching Porn: Of all magazines I wouldn’t expect GQ to publish an article like this. But bravo to them. Due to the nature of this post there is obviously some sexual language involved.

Can A Mother Forget? – Tim Keller: I know these sermon jams can be a little dramatic and by extension a bit cheesy. But I really needed to hear this short message. So hopefully it will be edifying to you also.

Running – John Piper: THIS message I needed even more. Watch it! And I really hope it is a blessing to you also!

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A Blinded Step Of Faith…

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I was walking up the stairs this morning with a rather large blanket and two big pillows in my arms. And as I was nearing the top I missed the last step up; which was probably due to the fact that the load I was carrying was so large my path was blinded. I was functioning on instinct alone. And my instinct obviously failed me.

You know what happened next. Gravity.

Splat; I fell. Except I landed atop the beautiful mess of blankets and pillows. They broke my fall so perfectly that as soon as I hit the floor, I was enveloped in comfort. So I stayed there. Sprawled on the floor. And if I had allowed myself I could have fallen asleep.

And that, my friends, probably means its time for a holiday.

At the beginning of January we were anticipating the year and all that it had for us. We were cautiously optimistic that things would be business-as-usual, with the exception of predictable bumps in the road.

And a couple of weeks ago that all changed. Now at the beginning of February, it will not be business-as-usual.

The details are not sure, so they will not be disclosed here. But all that needs to be known is we have been journeying along a path and that path that seemed clear took a sharp turn. Like that unseen last step, we have been levelled under all kinds of uncertainty and lack of control.

We have unraveled ourselves in this process of decision-making and planning. And it has been both painful and hopeful.

But now I feel like laying atop the mess.

I am liable to fall at any moment and juggling the mess is too hard.

All I want to do is finally release all our plans to the mighty and capable hands of God. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure in my weakness I will want to rip them back out of his hands and try to carry it again. But as for now. Right now. At this moment. I want him to take it. And I want to just lay down and be comforted by knowing He’s got it.

He knows the end and He knew the beginning. He planned the path before our weary feet even began the journey. And that is reason enough to let Him carry this heavy load.

For now I will walk in faith and let the Lord establish our steps.

At least for now.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

letmedirect

It is a short one this week, as the whole fam is sick!

Women’s Discipleship and the Mommy Blogosphere: Yes and YES! I used to have a terrible habit of reading a thousand different mommy blogs early in my motherhood, and I believe it tore me down more than it built me up. Even sadder, I feel like I have contributed to this problem with my own blog. I love what she has to say and I am trying very hard to be a blogger who points women to Jesus more than the “right” way to be a mom.

About That Mom Who’s Not Bragging About Her Kids: Oh boy, this made me cry. And I can’t express just how important it is to read. The post is directed at moms with older kids, but the same applies to moms of young kids too. If you desire to be a good friend…read this.

Posted in Motherhood, Parenting, Womanhood | Leave a comment