“For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” Psalm 86:5
I was sitting at a Celebrate Recovery meeting at a friend’s church and during the lesson portion the teacher said something about how Jesus forgives freely. I scribbled the words freely forgive at the top of my paper and thought a song could come out of that. Not long after I sat down to write and looked through the scriptures and came upon Psalm 86. I pulled lots of lyrics out of that chapter. This song had a different vibe than the others and I waited to share it with “the world”, Johnny (one of my ministry partners) kept pestering me to post something about it on social media but I held my ground. This song is the only song with no piano or keyboard in it, I do, however, lead it in prisons on occasion with just the keyboard but it isn’t as good 😉
Somewhere along the way I thought a ukulele would be fun to add to the mix and asked my cousin’s teenage son, Joel, to play with us. My usual bass player played Djembe and acoustic guitar and vocalist Mark rounded out the team for a great sound. In the studio, the producer added an acoustic bass. Take a look at the lyrics and a listen to both a rehearsal and the final product.
Aren’t you glad that Jesus so freely forgives when we don’t deserve it? Call out to Him, He is listening and will answer you.
“Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.” Psalm 86:3
“For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.” Psalm 86:5-7
“All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.” Psalm 86:9
“Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” Psalm 86:11-12
“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant. Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.” Psalm 86:15-17
Verse 1 You bend Your ear to me, Lord You hear me when I call You give me Your salvation My sins no more recall
Verse 2 Lord, You are good and steadfast You listen to my prayer You answer pleas for mercy And keep me in Your care
Chorus And You, show me Your grace Lord, You give me Your mercy And I, walk in Your light ‘Cause You, freely forgive (repeat)
Verse 3 Give me Your strength to serve, Lord Help me abide in You You show me favor, O Lord Your love and comfort proof
Verse 4 You teach me Your way, O Lord That I may walk in truth Your word revealed will unite My heart to fear You
Bridge Turn to me, be gracious, Lord Hide away my shame I will kneel and bow before You And glorify Your name (repeat)
“Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done.” Psalm 105: 1-5
My Celtic song! This song has that kind of feel. The above picture is of my Bible, Psalm 105 contains the majority of the lyrics for this song. The Psalms truly are songs just waiting to be put to music!
I started leading this song at Algoa Correctional Center and when I heard a hundred men singing at the top of their lungs “Great is his name, worthy of praise!”…it was really something special. These men praise the Lord with all their hearts and it overwhelms me, there are times I’d like to just stop singing and listen to them, I have on occasion. I really wanted to record their voices singing this song (especially the bridge) but I couldn’t get it worked out with the institution. So instead of 100 voices on the album you get to hear 4. My two sons sang some harmonies and melodies but on the chorus my producer recorded my youngest son singing it over again and again, stacking the vocals to create an awesome sound of men’s voices, Christian couldn’t return to sing again so I asked the electric guitar player sing, Sean is multi-talented 🙂 The 4th voice is my own of course, but I still think this song would best be sung by a big choir of men singing lots of parts. I am thankful for my sweet boys and their talents, they are gifted singers. I’m attaching 2 recordings, one of a fun rehearsal (unfortunately without Cameron) and the final product.
The Holy One
Verse 1 Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name Remember all He’s done, seek the Lord, His strength PreChorus Holy is He, Our God and King Worship the Lord, let’s shout and sing Chorus The Holy One, the Holy One Rejoice, He is the Way Glory in His name The Holy One, He is the Holy One Exalt the Prince of Peace Declare His majesty Verse 2 Bless our mighty God, make known His deeds with praise Tell of His marvelous works, shout with joy, proclaim Bridge Great is His name, Worthy of Praise Lift your voice and sing Almighty God, Lord over all Worship Christ the King
“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Revelation 2:4
This…this is hard to admit. This is difficult to swallow – have I abandoned my first love? Is this where my issues began? Not keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus? Not putting Him first? I don’t really know how it all began just that I came under attack and could not pull myself out. Was it the enemy? Was it my own selfishness? Whatever it was… it made me miserable. The thoughts crept in, the lies whispered in my ear were loud and my mind started believing them, dwelling on them and my emotions followed. And then the enemy’s attacks kept me despondent. I was numb, afraid, and felt more alone than I ever have before. And before I knew it, I was not waking up each day and getting on my knees, pouring over His Word, praying, worshiping… Oh, I was going through the motions and reading here and there but God felt distant. On Christmas day I cried off and on all afternoon because my kids went home early. And the lie was…I am unlovable and therefore, no one wants to spend time with me. Over the next couple weeks I grew even more agitated and lonely and really just wanted to be around “my people”, those people that would just love me regardless of how I was/am. My husband didn’t really know what to do with me except cherish me and he did it so well. With James’ prompting, I planned a trip to my old hometown to see my cousin and my aunt. My cousin got sick and I couldn’t go see her, I spent an extra day with my aunt and then James said I should check-in to a hotel for a couple days. I took him up on that request and read “Get Out of Your Head”, my Bible, cried, prayed, and cried some more. I did feel better, I realized that some of the things I was thinking were lies and I needed to apply truth to them. And I did. I knew the right answers but my heart was still hurting.
“The danger of toxic thinking is it produces an alternate reality, one in which distorted reasoning actually seems to make sense.” – Jennie Allen (Get Out of Your Head, page 24)
The last few months have been ugly. I’ve had good days but overwhelming bad ones that kept me from wanting to trust Jesus, to believing He loves me and wants to use me. I love Jesus, so very much. I am so grateful for His sacrifice and love for me. But lately, I have been feeling worthless, unlovable, and helpless. I have somewhat of a control issue and when something I love felt like it was being taken away from me I started to spiral out of control and the lies came creeping back in. These lies remained unconfessed and unchecked for months and the result was a several day meltdown that left me feeling even more dejected because now I have been found out, I have admitted that I am not as perfect as everyone thinks (I’m sure someone might have thought that, ha) and I felt like a big loser, a hypocrite, a terrible friend, and a lousy christian. As difficult as that was, I knew it was the beginning of my healing. James 5:16 tells us – confess your sins one to another so that you may be healed and I needed healed, I wanted to be healed of this torment that was going on in my mind and heart.
I would like to blame this whole thing on the enemy but if I’m really honest, I am prideful. Pride, pride, pride – my biggest sin. We do not want anyone to think less of us or to see the real us or to believe anything less than good about us and you know why? Because we’ve been hurt by others’ opinions and careless words. But this is when and where it is most important to lay down that pride because the Lord gives grace to the humble but resists the proud. I don’t want God to resist me, I desperately need His grace. His opinion is the only opinion that matters. What He thinks of us is what’s truly important. And I forget, I get caught up and wrapped up in many things and then I forget that His grace is for me too. And if I will just stop and remember the God I serve, that this world is not my home, and that He is so in control…I will be okay. It’s going to be okay! I have been reminded this week to remember my first love…Jesus. He is my delight and I am His!
“Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2
Who cares about all of this other stuff? Even the good things that God calls us to and allows us to be a part of here on earth are going to end. His Kingdom lasts forever and I want to live running to it, running to Him over and over and over again. Focus on Jesus, set your mind on eternal things – Kingdom things, replace the lies with the truth of God’s Word, confess and be healed.
Take a listen to Jennie Allen’s podcast “Made For This” – Season 3: Bonus Episode “Your delight can’t be taken from you.” The first two chapters of Jennie’s book “Get Out of Your Head” are also included in this episode.
One more thing, music speaks…worship the Lord in song and run to the Father.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
It’s finally time to begin! I am incorporating the book and the Bible Study so even if you have one or the other you are going to get as much material and resources as I can throw at you, all for your benefit! And do not worry if you only have the book or only have the Bible Study, pour yourself into whatever you have at your fingertips.
Let me tell you that this can change your life, that God wants to do something in you. I know He does in me and is already working. The enemy is against us getting set free and I have had a rough time lately, I have been under attack like I don’t even know, so much so that I didn’t recognize myself. So, this tells me that this is worth it. Let’s not do this half way, let’s all dive in, get honest and real and be set free!
For Week 1: (This is the only week where we will start with the video first)
Philippians Bible Study:
Watch Session 1 Video (you can take notes on pg 29 of the study guide)
Complete Session 1 in the study guide
Read Chapters 1-3
Listen to ‘Made for This’ Podcast (Season 3) 01 – You are Not a Victim of Your Thoughts
We will have discussion on Zoom every Monday at 8:00pm and I will post questions in the FB Group for discussion on Mondays as well. We will keep each others’ stories and sharing confidential, we will rely on scripture for truth and we will not counsel each other. This is a place for confession, discovery and applying truth.
“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5
This song was so overwhelming to me that I wrote about it after I wrote it. So I posted those immediate thoughts below. This is a heavily requested and favorite song of those inside the razor wire and those on the outside as well.
When we get even the smallest glimpse of God’s love for us in sending His Son to die for our wickedness, we should marvel. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
When the bondage of sin no longer has a hold on us and we are made free, we should be astonished. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
When we realize the magnitude of His grace, we should be amazed. “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
When we see that He not only saves us but changes us and then when we mess up that He still loves us and keeps us, we should be filled with wonder. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
I am still marveling at the cross of Christ.
From September 11, 2016: I wrote my 5th song yesterday…I’ve been walking around with the words I marvel in my head. Those are the only words I had prior to sitting down to write but I love the word marvel, Jesus used it, others used it. It means be filled with wonder, astonishment. The greatest thing that fills me with wonder and astonishment is the work of Christ on the cross for me, His sacrificial death, His resurrection…that’s what I marvel at. Why this perfect, Holy God would come to this cruel world, be mocked, rejected, and die a horrific death for you and for me when He really didn’t have to…He did it willingly because of His great love for us. I can’t even begin to comprehend that kind of love and when in the tiniest way I try to understand it, it overwhelms me and I weep at the thought of it. So as I wrote the lyrics to this song, I wept, I sobbed, I was overwhelmed…I hope I never get over Jesus dying for me.
Verse 1 The cross of calvary, You bore for me You saved me from myself, from the enemy You willingly took my place, You suffered, died, in disgrace And through Your grace and mercy, You set me free
Chorus And I marvel, at Your sacrifice I’m filled with wonder, why You’d give Your life For me, this sinner, why You bled and died Your great love for me, I’m still amazed by It astonishes me How You saved me, how You changed me A mystery How You love me, how You keep me
Verse 2 To understand the cross of Christ, no one will know God wrapped in flesh, crucified, the debt we owe Holy Spirit, Father, Son, Almighty King, the Holy One Died and rose again to give us hope
Verse 3 Life was given in Your glorious victory My guilt and shame washed away in misery You conquered darkness and the grave What an awesome price You paid And in You, risen Lord, gave me eternity!
This song was really years in the making. What started off as an online study turned into a prayer that turned into a lifestyle that turned into a song, a challenge and so much more. In 2013, I did an online study called “Anything” by Jennie Allen with Good Morning Girls. And the prayer that Jennie was challenged with herself and that I started praying was this…”God, whatever You want me to do, I’ll do it. God, I will do anything”. It is one thing to say those words or pray those words, it’s another to mean them, to trust God to say, “well, okay then, here’s what I want you to do”. I even shared this prayer with my husband, and he was like, “no way am I praying that!” (you know I asked him to join me in it) but that was alright, I knew God was moving in my life and wanted more from me and for me.
This post is probably going to be long because this whole “Anything” is such a big part of my life. In September of 2017 I ran across a page of this study (from 2013) and was just in awe of God.
In the Fall of 2013, I started playing the piano and keyboard using chord charts, etc (I had a year and a half of piano lessons as a kid and played by note – less than intermediate) So this new thing, being able to play for myself and sing with myself was a big deal for me. In December of 2013, I went into prison for the first time. In 2014, I was doing jail ministry with the ladies in Pettis County. In 2015, James and I began the process to become VICs (Volunteers in Corrections). In 2015 , I was still saying “yes, Lord, I will still do anything” and taking care of my mother who had “officially” been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. There were many overnights in the hospital, doctor visits, and more. And God gave me joy and peace through all of it. (She is now doing so well, God is so very good). In 2016, I was leading worship in prisons, revivals, worship nights, and women’s retreats. And in the Spring of 2016, Sing for the King Ministries was born. During all of this I was working full time at my church, going to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary online to obtain a Worship Ministry Certificate, doing prison ministry, and I knew the Lord was telling me to quit my job. I knew I was called to more prison ministry and song writing and I hadn’t written a song since our vacation when I wrote the first three (and a few lyrics of another).
I want to give you a glimpse of my heart at that time because our perspective and emotions and feelings change and grow over time. Here’s an old blog post from July 7, 2016.
I quit my job….a job that I’ve had for almost 6 years, a job that provided a substantial amount of my family’s income, a job that I have loved and sometimes complained about but mostly loved. I am feeling a wide range of emotions, I feel like I need to grieve over leaving yet I’m excited for what the future holds. I know this is the right decision, God placed this on my heart long ago, but the follow thru has been and is still surreal to me. I’ve never been more thankful for my faithful and trustworthy God. He has appointed this time – His timing is perfect and I know this is the next step of obedience for me, the next step in my “anything” journey.
I am still in awe that this Bible study (I was leading the Anything Bible study at this time!) and big act of obedience have coincided like they have, I honestly didn’t plan it that way.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
If I get too caught up in thinking in worldly terms or just fleshly selfish terms, fear and doubt start to creep in and the tears threaten to come. In fact they haven’t just threatened, I have sobbed over what I have lost. But who am I to say what’s best for me, God knows far better than I, I just need to be obedient, even when it’s hard. It’s in those moments that Jesus surrounds me with His peace and reminds me that this world is not my home, that these “things” don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I am sure thankful that I serve a holy, righteous, transcendent yet near and loving God. I can put my hope and trust in Him. I marvel at that, at who God is, how He cares about me, a rotten, self-centered sinner. I love that word – Marvel. Jesus used it seeing the centurion’s faith, the Pharisees, His disciples and others used it seeing the wonder and majesty of Jesus. Marvel at the awesomeness of Jesus Christ, He has great and unthinkable plans for you. Step out in faith, in obedience to His calling on your life, He is worthy of our trust, our obedience.
Guess what the first song was after I left my job? Yes! Anything! Here’s my scribblings from our Spring vaca, lol! Novice songwriter, remember?
My last day of work was July 22nd and I finished this song in August. As I sat down to actually write this song I wondered if the songs I wrote in April were a fluke thing and if I could even write another song. It was crazy and I was so overwhelmed and in tears at the result. So many scriptures to point to – John 3:30; 2 Cor. 12:9; Mark 16:5; Isaiah 55:8-9; 1 John 5:1-5; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; Matthew 16:35. I have to talk about some of the lyrics, look up these scriptures and you will see them there. Jesus brings new life when we get brave and share our faith. Christ calls us to more than just being Christians, just going to church and when we trust and obey Him, He will open the doors to walk through. Surrender and sell out to Jesus!
Here are the lyrics and a video from a women’s conference where I had the honor of leading it.
Verse 1 You become greater, I become less When I am willing, You do the rest In my weakness, be glorified Through my boldness, You bring new life Chorus You in me, calls me to more I will trust, You’ll open the doors Anything, it’s all for You Surrender, sell out, that’s what I choose Verse 2 Your ways are higher, Lord take my thoughts You paid the price, I have been bought You call me out to give You away This world’s not my home, how can I stay? Bridge Let my faith, overcome my fear Bridge 2 Anything, You call me to Anything, I’m here for Your use Anything, this life I’ll lose Anything, how can I refuse?
19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! 20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. 21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. 26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:19-26
These precious verses…so much love and mercy. Before I had written even one song I knew I wanted to write a song about God’s faithfulness. The couple years prior to 2016 held heartache and the Lord comforted me with the promises in His Word. We serve a God that is faithful and merciful which means we have hope, we can depend on Him, we can trust Him. So I turned those heartaches over to Him and stood on His promises and He gave me peace over them all.
The first time I led this song at Boonville Correctional Center I heard a gentleman in the congregation yell out “hey! I just read that this morning!”, I smiled to myself and thought again about how wonderful it is to put God’s Word to music. It was at this same service that I shared my testimony, many men came forward to receive Christ and I met a man that told me I needed to meet his sister, she had a tv program in North Carolina. I didn’t think too much about it at the time but a couple months later and I was pulled over on the side of the road talking with this woman I had never met, praying and seeking the Lord’s will regarding us doing any kind of ministry together. Fast forward a few more months and I was on a plane to North Carolina as the guest worship leader for a Women’s Conference and on her local tv show “Iron Sharpens Iron” with several other ladies. They are still sweet friends today. You may be thinking, what does this have to do with God’s faithfulness, well, I met a young man on that trip, he was around my son’s age and he preached at one of the conference sessions. He reminded me of my oldest son. My boys have had struggles with their own faith which put this mama’s heart under much duress. This young man touched me and I was reminded of God’s faithfulness yet again.
No matter what struggles or trials you are going through or how many times you have messed up, God’s mercies are new every day, He sees you and loves you. His love is steadfast and He is faithful.
The lyrics to this song are mostly the above scriptures. The chorus says “Great is your faithfulness, Your holiness we acclaim” The word acclaim comes from the Latin word acclamare, which means to cry out. So it only makes sense that the verb form of acclaim means to offer enthusiastic praise or applause. There is no one else worthy of my enthusiastic praise and applause than the King of kings.
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,
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.
“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.
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
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.