Behind the Music ~ Sing for the King

Around 30 years ago…I know, I’m telling my age…my family started attending a little country church. This church had a youth choir and asked my sister and I if we’d like to be in it. We said sure and this voice came out. It was totally unexpected – especially to me. When I tell this story about how I started singing I always say that the most amazing part is that I wasn’t afraid to sing. I could stand up there in front of people and sing. I knew, even then at around 15 years old that this voice, this ability to sing was for the Lord alone, for His Glory.

The phrase “Sing for the King” came about several years ago, I used it as my signature line like people use “sincerely” and “yours truly”…I would write:

Sing for the King,

Christy Hoagland

The song began in my car on my way to work, I even have the voice memo somewhere of me saying “Christy, write a song called ‘Sing for the King'”. I know, I’m silly but this is how I song write. A word or phrase or melody pops into my mind or heart and I sing it into my phone. Later when I sit down to write the song I go over my phone notes, anything I’ve written down and spend time in my Bible finding scriptures that correspond with what song I feel I’m supposed to write. Usually that’s how it goes but sometimes I will simply be reading the Word and put the verses to music especially the Psalms.

Sing for the King is about singing praises to our King, He alone with worthy of our praise and adoration. The bridge is taken from Psalm 47:6-7 “Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!” I changed the last word ‘psalm’ to ‘song’. God’s Word is the best lyrics, full of truth and hope and who He is.

I wrote this song the day after I wrote Be Still but it transformed musically in the months that followed. I emailed this song to my ministry partner, Johnny and shared it with James and they both thought that it would be a great ministry name. And that’s how “Sing for the King Ministries” got its name. Over the last few years doing prison ministry and seeing the incarcerated pour their hearts out before the Lord in song, the name seems to me to be spot on.

Sing for the King
Verse 1
You are my hope, you are my peace
You are my joy, You are my King
Verse 2
You are my rest, You are my strength
You are my love, the reason I sing
Chorus 1
Sing for the King, Sing for His Glory
In Everything, Jesus is worthy
Sing for the King, All of creation
Exalt Him in praise, He is deserving
Chorus 2
Sing for the King, Sing for His Glory
In Everything, Jesus is worthy
Sing for the King, All of creation
Exalt Him in praise, with adoration
(Bridge)
Sing praises to God, sing praises
Sing praises to our King, sing praises
For God is the King of all the earth
Sing praises with a song
(Tag)
Sing for the King, Sing for His Glory
In Everything, Jesus is worthy
©2016 Christy Hoagland (ASCAP Sing for the King Publishing)

Behind the Music ~ Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

by Christy Hoagland

Be Still – my first song – well…almost. I did write a song in 2003 when I will still struggling with doubt and assurance about my salvation, before I completely surrendered my life to Christ. I think this is why I always say Be Still is my first song. A relationship with Jesus changes everything, including song writing. Perhaps I will write about that particular song in the future but today is about Be Still.

I began the lyrics in March 2016 while I was sick and forced to “be still”. The verses to the lyrics were the start and I felt God speaking through His Word, through Psalm 46:10. Sometimes I think God looks at me and shakes His head and says “really, Christy? you are concerned with all that, remember who I am”. It is when I am still that He speaks, when I quit striving and busying myself with so many things that I can hear from Him. When I am still and wait on Him He teaches me who He is and the results are knowing Him more and my faith is then strengthened. I am stubborn, so I need reminded again and again…constantly – to abide, rest, and seek Him. He has all the answers if I will just be still and listen.

The chorus is so simple, yet so full of truth… Be still and know that God is in control, that He is making us whole (sanctification), He’s all that we need…. these truths should make us fall at His feet in worship of who He is! The bridge continues with His promises of faithfulness. One of my favorite lines is “You have given me Your peace, Lord, assurance to believe” – the peace we gained when we put our trust in Christ, that supernatural peace that passes all understanding is the assurance we receive when we follow Jesus. He gives us the assurance to believe Him, His Word, what He says! He is truth! This belief should bring us great and wonderful peace.

This song is a favorite among many, especially the incarcerated. When everything around us is in chaos we need to remember who we serve, who is really in control, the great God of the universe. His yoke is easy, His burden is light, cast your cares on Him. If, or when, we start to get caught up in the craziness going on around us, whether it’s the current situation of the coronavirus, or finances, or health issues, or so many other things…just be still and remember who He is. When our perspective changes and we focus on God and the big picture, the cares of this world really do fade away. Be still, chill, God’s in control.

Be Still

Verse 1
How many times have You told me to wait
So I can know You, who You are and be brave
You’ll teach me Your ways and place in me faith
If I’ll just be still

Chorus
Be still and know God’s in control
Be still and know He’s making you whole
Be still and know He’s all that you need
Be still and know and fall at His feet
Oh, Be still

Verse 2
Why do I need Your constant reminder
Abide and rest and call out to You
You reveal Your truth and mercy completely
If I’ll just be still

(Bridge)
You are constant so I will rest
You are faithful, I will trust
You have given me Your peace, Lord, assurance to believe

©2016 Christy Hoagland (ASCAP Sing for the King Publishing)

Blog Series: Behind the Music

I’m going to start a blog series about my original songs; the scriptures, my personal journeys, how they came about, etc. To start things off I want to share a blog post (from my old blogger blog) how it all began.

April 30, 2016

Last week, James and I went on vacation. Originally, we were going to go to Florida with my cousin but things got a little crazy and we decided to go to Branson instead by ourselves. Cameron had other commitments so he stayed home. I was finally going to have enough alone time to do some song writing…I brought my keyboard and all kinds of other notebooks and “stuff” I thought I might need; I really didn’t have high expectations, I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing but on Saturday morning after I unpacked and had my quiet time I sat down and began. I had written some lyrics while I was sick a while back…back when I had a moment to be still. So I poured over the lyrics to a part of a song I had written called “Be Still”; it really was the story of my life, always being distracted and busy and never “still” enough. It was based on Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”. The music – lyrics and chord progressions came pouring out of me and after a few hours I had a complete song. Well, at least a song with all the main parts…I could play it for myself and sing it. I was simply awe struck, God is so good to me. Day 1 and I already had a song. I recorded it and sent it to a couple friends, I played it for James – much to his surprise (because he didn’t expect much either) but no one was as surprised as I was and am. That night a lady I didn’t know texted me about some Alaskan missionaries at her church there in Branson, she said she thought we were supposed to attend her church the next morning and meet them. So, we did. If you read my previous post you know that I bawled through at least half of the service, it was an amazing day. Sunday afternoon I wrote my second song. Tuesday, I wrote another. What was happening to me? God was turning me into a song writer! The song I wrote Tuesday was called “Great is Your Faithfulness”…He really is faithful. Tuesday morning we met with an old friend of James’ from back in high school. She is a songwriter and happened to be in Springfield the week we were in Branson. She is a wealth of knowledge and gave me so much advice and instruction on where to go from here. God’s timing is perfect, He has a plan. It was a wonderful week, I wept a lot and grew closer to my Lord. Below are some things I wrote down each morning.

April 23, 2016
Galatians 1:24 “And they glorified God because of me.”
This is my desire, that people would glorify God because of me. I want God to use me to bring people to faith in Him and to worship Him.
Lord Jesus, help me use the gifts You’ve given me to honor You and to show people who You are that they may fall on their face and glorify You, that they would sell out to You with all that they are. May they glorify You because of me, because I’m living with abandon, following Your will, and pointing them to You. Keep me humble, holy and righteous. May you be first in every area of my life and may I boldly display that. Thank You, Jesus for this opportunity to serve You. You are glorious and worthy of all praise. I love You. Amen
I wrote a song today, it’s called “Be Still”. It’s based on Psalm 46:10 “Be Still and know that I am God”. I am simply in awe that God allows me to serve Him in this way. Singing, playing piano, and now writing music. Incredible, amazing, He is truly wonderful and worthy of much more than anything I have to offer. What a blessing it is to be His child and to serve Him.

April 24, 2016
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
When I surrendered my life to Christ, I gave up living for myself. There are times when the Spirit battles the flesh but my life is no longer ruled by the flesh if I stay in the Word and in close fellowship with Jesus.
Jesus, help me today to live by faith, to put away any selfish ambitions and live for You, for Your will and for Your Glory alone. Thank you for giving Yourself up for me so I could have a relationship with You. Thank You for what You are doing right now in my life. Help me not take one moment for granted and to be constantly in awe and wonder of who You are. Thank you for this journey however short or long it is. You make what seems impossible possible, I am grateful. Praise Your holy name. I love you, Jesus. Amen.

April 25, 2016
Galatians 3:28-29 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for You are all one in Christ Jesus. And if You are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
Do the offenders in prison really know how loved they are, how God wants to free them with the power of the gospel and have an intimate relationship with them? I want them to know this, I want them to see that they/we are all one in Christ.
Lord, use me in this mission field to show Your love for these, incarcerated men and women. Humble me, give me words when I have none, silence when none are needed and love so powerful that it cannot be denied it’s from You. Help me stay focused and not let the world crowd in and distract me from this calling. All for Your glory, Lord. Thank You, Jesus, for this time, this journey, this incredible way to serve You and to make You known. I love You, Jesus. Amen. Let our lives reflect You.

April 26, 2016
Galatians 5:16-17 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
Spirit vs. Flesh – this is sometimes a tough battle. I find myself sold out to the Spirit and ready to jump off a cliff into unknown possibilities and then other times find myself desiring comfort and “so called” stability. And I forget, I forget that God’s ways are higher than my ways, that He has this all figured out and that His plan is the best plan. I simply need to trust Him more, rely on His strength, there’s real stability in following His will and an overwhelming peace.
Lord Jesus, Save me from myself, keep me focused on Your plan for me, lead me by Your Spirit. When I am tempted to chicken out, remind me of Your mission, remind me that people need to hear about Your saving grace, remind me that time is fleeting and this world is not my home. May Your Spirit that lives in me overcome my flesh and win out in every decision, thought, and circumstance. Use me for Your glory, Lord. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

April 27, 2016
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Don’t give up! We will reap what we sow. Some may see that as wordly gain but I see it as lives changed. Do not grow weary in doing good! I don’t ever want to tire of sharing the gospel with the lost and hopeless. What is the cost of one human life/soul? It is priceless.
Lord, Use me to share Your truth and hope, help me stay focused on Your plan and not get side-tracked with my own personal interests, help Your interests always be my interests. Give me strength when I start to get weary, give me a greater, more supernatural love for the lost. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

April 28, 2016
Hebrews 11 “Faith”
This chapter is all about faith in action. These men and women had faith in an invisible God to lead them to something better and they didn’t have the Holy Spirit!   Lord, I want to put my faith into action; I want  to so fully rely on You that even when people say I’m crazy I will have Your overwhelming peace and joy, knowing that I’m doing Your will and what You’ve called me to do.  Thank You, Jesus, for Your faithfulness, Your peace, and for continual sanctification.  Make me who You want me to be.  I love you, Jesus.  Amen.

Sing for the King,

Christy

Counting Your Blessings in the Midst of Sorrow

by Christy Hoagland

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Really, Lord? Is this possible? To give thanks in all circumstances?

My family has been going through some trials, great sorrow, sadness…

It is during these times of grief that we often try to gain answers to so many questions…let’s look to scripture for hope, for peace, for joy and perhaps get a glimpse of the whys. What does God’s Word say to give us comfort, what does He tells us to do during these times of great struggle, and how can this be used in my life for good? There are three things the Lord has brought to my heart during this current hardship.

Affliction and Suffering Strengthens Our Faith

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.  These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 This scripture tells us that these trials will show how genuine our faith is and that there is wonderful joy ahead and that our fire-tested faith is more precious than gold. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3 It seems rather ludicrous to count suffering as joy but if these trials produce strength, steadfastness, and a closer relationship with Jesus because we have to rely on Him to help us through it then it is worth it. This strengthened faith and trust in the Lord will give us peace. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 I have this on a post-it note on my computer monitor as a reminder to keep my mind on Jesus. It is easy to dwell on the difficult things in life rather than trusting in the One who is completely in control. Although it is hard to see God’s plan in the midst of suffering we can trust Him and His Word. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 God has a purpose even in the hardest things in life. It may take time before we see or know what that purpose is but we can trust the only One who is trustworthy and faithful. ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 And just maybe the trial you are in is preparing you to help someone else. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Focus on Eternal Things

This world is temporary, this life is so so short compared with eternity. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4 What a time to look forward to! Let’s keep our eyes on eternity and in the meantime carry out what we are called to do, to redeem this short time. Ephesians 5:16 tells us to make the best use of time while we are here. We must share the precious Gospel of Jesus with those around us. “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7 So many people walk by us everyday who have no hope, no peace. We are called to love the lost and share our hope with them. We are called to proclaim who He is. “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted.” Isaiah 12:4 “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15–16

Cherish What You Have, Count Your Blessings

Trials make me thankful for what God has given me. I have a beautiful family, a sweet and amazing ministry, the gift of music and so much more. But most importantly I am thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32 He is on our side, He gives us good gifts, He loves us so much more than we can imagine, He gave His Son for us! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17 “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

Let us shift our focus, our hearts and our minds to Jesus when we are hurting. He is the only comfort, only peace, only joy when we are suffering. He is good, He is faithful.

“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” John 16:22


*image – YouVersion

Just Say Yes

by Christy Hoagland

I was standing in a prison gymnasium last Saturday quietly playing while man after man left their seats to repent, believe, and profess faith in Jesus at the back of the room and as they were gathering around to pray I was overcome with the faithfulness and goodness of God. And I said to myself “Christy, you could’ve missed this.”

I could’ve been content just singing on the worship team at my church, leading a song here and there and doing Bible studies and many other “good” things but… still missed out on the best things God has for me to see and to witness and to experience. Don’t get me wrong, going to church, preaching, leading worship, serving, it is all part of what God calls us to but that is only the beginning and if that is all we do then we stay stuck, we stay in our places and don’t venture out to share our faith, love the unlovable, and go to where God has called us and do what God has called us.

For me it has been a process in my Christian walk, obedience to say yes when prompted and no to other things. And I have done both; the “nos” to obedience to God keep us stuck and the “yeses” set us free and help us focus on what really matters. Obedience to Jesus keeps us from settling, as Jennie Allen would say “I almost settled for a wasted life” (Johnny quotes that all the time now); if we are honest we have all been in seasons where we look back and wonder where the last month, year or years went and if there was any meaning or significance in it. This is what I fear most, living a life of insignificance as a follower of Jesus. As myself, I am insignificant but in Christ – so much more. Thankfully I serve a pursuing God that has given me His Spirit to prod my heart to a better way to live.

I’d like to share just a few of the promptings God put in my heart that has led me to today – to this precious ministry of worshiping with and leading the incarcerated in music, the Word, and so much more.

2013 – My “anything prayer” *(Anything You want me to do, Lord, I’ll do it for You) and the challenge to risk… honestly, the details don’t really matter but I took a risk and said yes to something and God started growing me into a worship leader.

2013 – A simple meeting in a church hallway with an ex-offender. From this point on God would use this ex-offender to become my encourager, my friend, my ministry partner and more

2013 (December) – First prison concert at Algoa Correctional Center

2014 – Ladies Jail Ministry at Pettis County Jail

2015 – Began courses at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for a certificate in Worship Ministry.

2015 (November) – First service at Algoa Correctional Center with my husband (we then started the Volunteer process)

2016 (March/April) – First songs written (Be Still, Sing for the King, Great is Your Faithfulness)

2016 (May) – Sing for the King Ministries was born

2016 (July) – Quit my full time job to do ministry full time. This was a big yes, a difficult thing to lay down because it required faith for God to provide for us.

2016 – Present – God has taken the yes of serving the incarcerated from a once a week and a handful of services here and there to close to 200 services inside prisons and other services outside prison walls.

If you are tired and weary and wondering if there’s more to life than what you’ve been living, let me tell you that there is and so much more than you could possibly imagine. Just say yes to Jesus and He will show you great and marvelous things, He will give your life meaning and purpose and you will never be the same. Surrendered and sold out is the best way to live life. All it really takes is one yes after another, the first being surrendering your life to Jesus and then trusting Him to lead the way. Then the next yes and the next and sometimes a no along the way to keep you on your “yes path” of obedience.

Serving my Creator, life-sustainer, Savior and King is my greatest joy and sometimes I get overwhelmed that He would call me and use me like He is. Can’t wait to see what’s next…

In the meantime, I’ll just say yes.

(I hadn’t intended to use this song but as I was writing this post this song popped in my head so I have to share. It brings tears almost every time I hear it.)

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8


Photo at top – Photo Credit: Taylor Hoos

*Anything by Jennie Allen

Unseen Study ~ Chapter 13

“Wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Matthew 26:13

“We become God’s friend when we listen for His heart and His soft whisper in His Word.” – Sara H. (Pg 224) Becoming God’s friend, knowing Him more…this is what this chapter is all about, in fact, I think this is what this book is all about…knowing Him, drawing near to Him, wasting our time, our lives, everything on Him. My days become so task driven and such a whirlwind that I need this reminder to be hidden and unseen with Him. I have realized that through this study and others and especially time with the Lord and His Word that my “anything” comes from being “unseen”. Praying anything you want me to do Lord and being hidden seem so far apart but it is because of the hidden and unseen times that cause me to pray that anything prayer. Knowing Jesus more produces boldness in me, spending more time with Him causes me say yes to the uncomfortable things He calls me to and this makes me want to be hidden, unseen, different from the world and growing to be more like Him and to know Him more.

“Familiarity can be the greatest enemy to growth, and yet most of us (if we’re honest) hang out around the same side of God that we know — over and over again. Sometimes over years. Decades. And admitting it to ourselves, to Him, to others, only opens us up to possibility. I pray often: “I barely know You, God.” Sometimes, just to remind myself that there are vast landscapes of Him to explore — and just when I think I’ve figured Him out.” – Sara H.

What an adventure it is to know Christ and be known by Him. It is the greatest gift I have ever received and it continues every time I seek Him. I want to have a story like Mary’s, not to be shared and told but a story that says she loved Jesus above everything else.

Unseen Study ~ Chapter 12

I can’t pretend to know how Mary felt as she anointed Jesus with the oil. It is a little overwhelming to think about me in her place and although I can’t “change places” with her I am called to live a life that is devoted, surrendered and saturated with Jesus, hidden in Him – a life poured out at His feet. I am just now learning this hiddenness thing or maybe just now beginning to understand it and I am sure that I never fully will but as I pray and seek Him, I will try to put away the distractions, rest in His presence and listen for His voice.

“Some things that I will ask of Him, no one will ever see or know or hear. ‘The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,’ we read in the Psalms (Ps 25:14). Pouring out my thoughts to Him and carrying the thoughts of His heart toward me, and toward my family and the people in my world, is not merely a part of life in God. It is all of life in God.” – Sara H. (Pg 202)

I don’t want to miss Jesus…miss out on really knowing Him, who He is, what He is saying to me. I don’t want to live a safe life and wake up one day wondering where the years went. I want to live every day, every seemingly significant or insignificant moment in His presence. “We’ll mature without effort into wrinkles and gray hair, but our hearts won’t mature deep into God by default. We have to desire more and more of God. Paul prayed for such greater fullness in our experience of God. Sara H. (Pg 207)

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

Seek Him, talk to Him, pray.

“God told me what I already knew, but what I needed to hear again: the story of God and me is my most significant story. His eyes on me and into my life are the source from which I draw everything else. Whether I am folding laundry or speaking from a platform, my exchanges with God are always about His reach for me and my reach for Him in return, again and again. The rest of life is the overflow.” – Sara H. (Pg 212) I love this! I hope you are listening for His Holy whispers, I sure am trying to, to listen and abide.

Unseen Study ~ Chapter 11

“He [God] loves to heal what has broken.” – Sara H. (Pg 190)

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

God loves to heal our broken hearts…and He is really good at it. I have been really sick this week and I was scheduled to lead worship at a Pastor and Leaders Conference today, I hated telling them I couldn’t come, I hated that I was not going to be able to network with other church pastors and leaders and I hated losing out on getting paid. But God gently reminded me that He is my provider, my comforter, my healer, my everything. And it’s gonna be okay.

So, as I was reading this week’s chapter I was reminded of God’s healing the broken, not only physically but spiritually, emotionally. We’ve been remodeling our house and our stairway is finally finished, I had picked up a large shadowbox and other things to display my dad’s uniform from Vietnam along with the flag folded at his funeral. My grandparents and aunts had allowed me to receive these precious items and I wanted to display them in honor of him. This project, along with reading this chapter wrecked me. My dad passed away in 2008 in a car accident, he was 58 years old. I had a hard time with my dad’s passing because of me…I loved him and didn’t tell him enough, I didn’t return phone calls in the months leading up to his death, I played his cheerful message left on my answering machine from my birthday over and over wishing I had one more chance to talk to him, to tell him I loved him and that Jesus loved him. Upon hearing of his death, the first words from my mouth were “I never told him about Jesus”, my mom reassured me that she had and my wonderful aunt told me about his faith in the first minutes I saw her when I arrived at the funeral home. God’s marvelous grace…poured out over me through my aunt. God knew what I needed and he began healing my broken heart over my own sin in not sharing the Gospel and not letting my dad know how much I loved him and that he was a good dad to me. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over myself but God continues to move and grow me through it. He has given me an urgency to share Him with the lost, with my family and strangers. I am thankful for His grace, His love for me and His continued healing in my brokenness.

“When we acknowledge the parts of us that are broken, we have significant growth spurts in God.” – Sara H. (Pg 198)

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Unseen Study ~ Chapter 10

Thirsty for Jesus…

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.” Psalm 42:1

When I am at my weakest I thirst for more of Jesus. Sometimes as I am reaching for Him I feel restless, lonely, and miserable. But these are the times I remember being filled up, renewed, refreshed and propelled in my growth in Him.

A few years ago (2015) I battled a prideful and entitled spirit in myself, it was ugly and I had a hard time letting go and letting Him fill me with more of Him. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 30:30 I needed to surrender this part of myself to Him, I need to thirst more for Him and let Him be what fills my life…not this need to have my own way. When I finally relinquished control of this area of my life things started to change in my life. Grace filled my thoughts when things didn’t go my way and the doors God wanted to open for me began to fling open. I trust God, He has a much better plan for me than I do, He knows what’s best for me and will show me great and mighty things when I am dependent upon Him.

“What feels like a wilderness, a desert – the hidden seasons and the hidden spaces throughout our day that expose we are dry on the inside – cannot thwart the maker of rain. These are the times our roots forge deeper through the earth to find the water source…Our water is Him. This beautiful God. His eyes, they know us – all the parts of us. His arms, they’re strong and they hold us. His whisper speaks life and breathes dust off what’s old and needs reviving.” – Sara H. (Pg 183/184)

“I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.” Hosea 2:14

I am reminded of a song, “I Surrender” by Hillsong…”Drench my soul as mercy and grace unfold, I hunger and thirst, I hunger and thirst”

Unseen Study ~ Chapter 9

“We search vainly from others for the acclaim that only God can give.” – Sara H.

Finding our value in Him instead of other people, listening for His voice, His leading instead of our own or others or the enemy! Let’s tune out the noise but while we are tuning it out let us invite Him into the stillness.

Let’s face it, we want to be noticed by other people more than by our Creator. We want to be lifted up, made much of, and thought well of by the world…our flesh sure does and when we try and listen for God’s voice it gets pushed out by everything and everyone else. But why wouldn’t it, we fill our days, hours, minutes with constant noise; social media, television, music, and our incredulous thoughts. And then we wonder why we aren’t hearing from God. I’m sure if my time spent on other invaluable things was put up against how much time I spent soaking in the Word and thinking about, praying to and listening to my Savior I would not be surprised at how the noise invades so much space, so much of my mind!

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.” Ephesians 6:12

And the enemy wants to have our thoughts directed toward anything and anyone else than Jesus. Put on that armor and continually call out to Him to renew you, revive you, and cleanse you. I love how Sara prays the Psalms, what a truth, comfort, and renewal can come from them. That’s where many of my song lyrics have come from. “The Psalms are to be prayed, recited, and sung…to be done, not merely to be read. We are not simply to read the Psalms; we are to be immersed in them so that they profoundly shape how we relate to God… [They] are the divinely ordained way to learn devotion to our God.” – Tim Keller “The Psalms demonstrates that we can bring to God all of ourselves – with all of our emotions – and trust that He has the power to change us.” (Pg 169)

“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!” Psalm 119:25

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7

Truth time – I am really trying to give this good portion to the Lord…my time, my mind, but it has been difficult. I find myself over and over thinking about that dreaded to-do list! BUT, at least now I am realizing that I’m thinking about it and trying to intentionally shift my mind to Jesus and not get caught up in what I didn’t get done and simply love the time I have spent with Him.

“Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” Psalm 30:10