Music expresses more than the mind can describe, the heart feels and the soul longs to say. I have been very blessed in my life to be surrounded by love songs. My first husband who died at age 37, spent 20 years writing and singing love songs to me. If I didn’t feel loved before, there is no way I could not believe I was loved after all that. Before he died, we were talking about his music and he said that all love songs come from God. The longer I live, the more I believe him…
My present husband started out our marriage by singing his first-ever solo at our wedding! Of course, it was a song of love. It took a lot of courage and I know he really meant what he sang! There are lullabies sung by parents and grandparents that convey an indescribable love. Teachers sing silly-little songs to help children learn the alphabet, months, manners and how to dance the wiggles out. Those little ditties are filled with love for their students. Care-givers sing songs along with patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia or brain injuries who are basically unable to speak. Those patients will belt out a song they’ve sung all their lives though they may not be able to answer simple questions. There is nothing more moving than being in a group where everyone is singing a song of love to You, Lord, with all their heart, like they really mean it. I can feel all our love rising up like a beautiful sacrifice of praise straight to Your heart. I know it blesses You more than we know.
There’s one verse in the Bible that has always stopped me in my tracks—that is where You say You sing songs over us! That really amazes me! Do You have just the right song at just the right time for each of us? A lullaby when we need rest; a teaching song when we need to remember; a battle song when we need to fight; a peaceful song when we need to rest in Your presence; a song of grace when we need to be assured of Your forgiveness; a strong song when we need to overcome fear; a tender song reminding us to trust You no matter what; a song of promise that You will never leave us; a song of joy when we do right; a song of Your immeasurable, everlasting love for us that tells us that You delight in us! I am overcome by Your love—that You would be willing to love me when I was a sinner–enough to send Jesus to die in my place so I could choose to live with You forever and ever—that You continually woo me with love songs.
“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
“For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation. Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.” Psalm 149:4-5
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100
Father, help me be still and hear Your songs, and let me sing love songs to You—no matter what…
I want to love you with all that I am, but it seems so inadequate. You will always love me more! You not only created me, but You are continually blessing me in more ways than I can count or comprehend. You designed this planet with perfect conditions so I can breathe, move and live. You scatter beauty everywhere so my soul can bask in Your glory…through sunrises and sunsets, beautiful flowers and trees, butterflies and puppy dogs, the soft eyes of love from my husband, children, grandchildren, friends and strangers. You surprise me with divine encounters, holy moments, insightful thoughts and everyday grace. You have faithfully loved me from before I was born. I have no doubt You will never leave me even up to my last earthly breath…and then I even get to live with You forever.
My love for You has grown immensely since I was a little girl, yet it is still so flimsy and insufficient. My mind wanders. My heart is wishy washy. My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. I cannot love you anything near like You love me. You loved me so much, that even though I am a sinner and have been unfaithful to You, You sent Jesus to take the punishment for my sin on the cross. He died in my place and rose again so I could live with You forever and ever. How can You love me that much?! Why would You sacrifice Your Son for me except for a love that can never be matched or taken away?
You purposely designed us with our own free will and gave us the freedom to choose. We don’t have to accept Your eternal gift of Jesus’ sacrifice…but Oh! The joy, the peace, the purpose, the certainty, the love we receive from You is beyond compare! Our real life begins when we accept Your loving sacrifice for our sins. There is absolutely no way to love You in the way You deserve. Yet after accepting Your love through Jesus, I can live my little life with my small heart and mind focused on You and Your unmatchable love! What a joy to love You with all my little heart that grows more in love with You each day!
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:9
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
Heavenly Father, Your love is…
Beautiful Heavenly Father,
For the past 4 months, I have been experiencing a lot of physical pain. I have been very blessed in my life to have excellent health which is definitely not taken for granted. I’ve cared for too many loved ones who have suffered pain which was excruciating to witness. That’s why it’s always been hard for me to complain if I have a little twinge. It has always appeared that I have a high threshold of pain (probably got that from my tough/stubborn little 84 year old mom!) Yet these past few months have knocked me down. It was challenging to walk from the living room to the bedroom without back pain that affected my entire body. It was such a change for me since I have always worked hard. I have to admit there were many times, I have been tempted to feel hopeless…thinking I would never be able to walk normally again.
Fortunately, You found a way to remind me each time I was invited to the pity party to turn it into a praise party instead. Sometimes the praise had to be forced until it became real. It truly seemed like a sacrifice to thank You and praise You…but it always turned into the true thing. Lord, I know and trust Your goodness. There is not one iota of meanness, darkness or manipulation in You. I trust Your love for me to be pure and holy. Not only did I and all those who loved me pray for me, but I went forward three times (once a month) to ask the elders of the church to anoint me and pray for my healing. I finally sincerely came to the point I could praise You for whatever happened. If You needed me to go through the suffering for whatever reason, I asked that I would handle it for Your glory.
Lord, I just want to publically thank You for Your sweet healing that is taking place in my body! I feel my back along with my entire body getting stronger every day! I am so incredibly grateful. My body and my spirit want to dance!!! I hope that I will praise You if it someday comes back. I hope that I praise You no matter what circumstances I face. I hope that I praise You in the good times and hard times. I hope I praise You when it is popular and when it might be illegal to hold the name of Jesus Christ up high. I love praising You because that’s where I find You. It might be a sacrifice to praise You at times, but it is a beautiful sacrifice that results in You pouring Your rich blessings into me that far outweigh whatever challenges I might face. You are worthy of all praise, glory and honor! You are the Great I am- our eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18
“For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Hebrews 13:15
Heavenly Father, I praise You even though…
My Lord and God,
I am joyfully declaring my total dependence upon You today! As our country celebrates our independence as a nation, we read the Declaration of Independence which announced for the whole world to hear that the newly-founded United States of America was officially separating from the unjust rule of the King of England. Those who signed the historical document knew it would most likely cost them life and their worldly riches (theirs, their families’ and their new countrymen). Indeed it cost dearly. Millions of lives have since been sacrificed to gain and protect our country’s freedom. I am indeed blessed to have been born in the USA…although I did not have a say in that blessing.
I do, however, have a say in freely giving up my rights to my own life. It is the best choice I’ve ever made. Whatever worldly riches and rights I willingly laid aside to acknowledge my dependence upon You as my King is nothing compared to the richness of living with Jesus now and forevermore. What a relief to know I do not have to live up to laws which are unobtainable; to pay taxes which put me in chains of bondage; to be ordered about with no compassion by a worldly king who doesn’t even know me. You are the King of kings yet You humbly offered Your one and only pure Son Jesus Christ to pay the ultimate price for my freedom. You are the absolute maker, designer, and Lord of all yet You long to have an intimate personal relationship with little me. It is not Your nature to rule over us with an iron hand, although You alone have the power and authority to reign for all eternity.
You invite all of us from every tribe and nation to willingly be a part of the only kingdom that truly counts. You do not force us but wait upon us to realize we can’t do anything without You. We indeed find more than we could ever hope for or imagine as we realize our great need for You. It is with upmost love, trust, faith, hope and with everything I am that I once again tell You that I need You. I need You salvation, guidance, comfort, direction. I need the blood of Jesus to open the way. I need You to breathe, move, live. I need You to live in and through me so I can fulfill Your purpose for me, so I can draw others to You, so I can love joyfully and completely. I need You, Oh, I need You. Every hour I need You! I have found true freedom in my dependence upon You, My True King!
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, , who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21
“Halleluiah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!” Revelation 19:6b
King of Glory, help me see what areas I need to let You rule over…
Awesome Holy Father,
My granddaughter and I were driving on the highway next to an Air Force base when a gigantic AWAC plane was getting ready to land right over us. We saw it coming and knew it was flying straight towards us. It felt like the landing gear almost clipped the top of our van. The power of the huge engines reverberated through our whole vehicle and our bodies. We both looked at each other fully aware of the fearsome power that aircraft had. It could have easily wiped us out! For several miles on our journey afterward, my granddaughter and I discussed the design and purpose of the massive airplane. They fly high in the sky and keep constant watch with high-tech equipment for threats. It’s radar system with dedicated and highly trained personnel watch over our safety and welfare. It gave me another glimpse of You and Your care for us, Lord!
There are a few times in my life where You have shown me a peek at Your glory…and it has shaken my very spirit to the core. You kind of tilt Yourself so I get a tiny sample of Your fearsome power and mighty majesty. My spirit can scarcely take in Your indescribable strength. I am shaken to think of who You really are in all Your glory. You who spoke… and galaxies were birthed; the stars were set in place; mountains pushed up from the center of the earth; oceans were tamed; molecules spilt; and You tenderly breathed life into dust to form man into Your own image. You have all power and authority over all that there is. No armies can march, no kingdoms prevail, not even death can reign unless You give it permission to accomplish Your great purposes. No one can look upon You and live. You are more powerful than anything else we can comprehend or create…and yet You gently watch over us.
Most of the time, I can go about my daily life and not be shaken by Your power because You tenderly hold back to what I can withstand. Yet, even when I cannot see You or feel You, I know You are on constant watch over me. You never sleep or grow weary of protecting, guarding, guiding, warning, correcting and singing over me. There is not one thing that goes unnoticed by You and yet You loved me enough to send Jesus to save me. You never leave me alone to face this life. You are always with me. I always want to stay under the shadow of Your wings, Lord! Help me worship, love, obey and live with You at the very center of my life. Not only do You fly high above me, but You sent Your Spirit to live within me. That’s a crazy power that shakes up my world and brings heaven to earth!
“How priceless is Your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 36:7
“See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and His arm rules for Him. See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him. He tends His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those who have young.” Isaiah 40:10-11
“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.” Psalm 29:3-4
Father, You are awesome in power yet tender in mercy with me by…
I miss my Wednesday night Forever Sisters! For years, we opened up our Bible study with reports of ways we had seen You work during the week, Lord. I still recall the panic on certain faces as the testimonies were shared around the group and their turn was approaching. New people didn’t know what to do or say so we let them off easy at first. Girls who were regulars came to love sharing what they had seen! In fact, if they had to miss or on rare occasions when we skipped a week, they couldn’t wait to text or Facebook everyone with what they had seen You do! Some of these were the very same ones who dreaded speaking at first! Our group of sisters-in-Christ prayed together, cried together, rejoiced together, studied Your word together and simply loved one another. I think one of the favorite parts was this sharing of reports of what You were doing in everyone’s daily lives.
Because they knew they were going to need to report something, they began to look for ways You were at work. Some were better than others at seeing You all around. Sometimes it would be as simple as You helping find a set of keys or as impressive as seeing a former Satan worshipper that we had been praying for give their life to You (and then being baptized at our church). Seeing and hearing of all the things we each saw You do during the week (over months or even years) built our faith in You even more. If one came feeling weak or defeated, these reports renewed their faith. We shared in many victories and answered prayers…because we were looking!
Father, there are so many things we miss, because we are not looking. I believe and hope that this habit of watching for You at work continues in the lives of those I no longer meet with every week. I recall one of the moms telling how she had started the nightly habit of having her kids tell what they are thankful for or how they had seen You work. Maybe each of those sisters have started sharing with others how they see You at work in their daily lives! It’s time for me to start with a new group. They may be shy at first…but I know what happens when we open our eyes and start looking for You! We find You…everywhere we go!
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparable great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19
Father, open my eyes and help me see….
I know how the women who went to Jesus’ tomb felt. I vividly recall going to sit by myself at my first husband’s new grave. Without the kids with me, I gave into deep wailing sobs as I thought of his poor body buried beneath the cold ground. My soul was overcome with anguished sorrow and hopelessness. The whole world seemed dark and scary as I sat alone in despair. That’s when an unseen hand tenderly lifted my chin to look up at the heavens. The skies were gloriously blue and full of hope and peace. I was reminded that my husband was not in that grave but was ALIVE! He was with my Lord Jesus who was also more ALIVE than I could imagine! Nothing had changed…yet everything had changed. It all depended on what I was looking at- death or life!
That’s why the angels asked the women “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” Jesus may have died on the cross, but He was anything but dead! It may take us a bit to believe in what we cannot see…but it all begins when we believe that You sent Your own Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sin and trust that He is now ALIVE. That’s when we begin to experience the change in ourselves from death to life. That’s when we change what we look at. There is still death all around in this world- not only physical but more devastating spiritual death. Our world is full of hopelessness, despair and darkness which pulls us further toward death. Praise You, Lord God!!! For sending the light of the world, our Savior and King Jesus! When we look to Him and let Him rule in hour hearts, everything changes!
It matters not how horrible the sight looks before me here on this earth, when I look to You- You make all things new, glorious and full of hope. Jesus, You are ALIVE and always at work making things new. You will never leave me or desert me. When I look, I see You every single day. It might be in a scripture, a song, a divine encounter with a stranger or friend, a holy moment, a flower, a sunset or sunrise, a breath of wind, a dove perched right above me, a touch of Your healing hand, a soft eternal whisper… Father, help me to be watching and sensitive to Jesus who is ALIVE! Help me keep my eyes on His LIFE! When I see Him, let me call out in loving recognition, praise and love, “Rabboni!”
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightening stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here: He has risen!’” Luke 24:1-6
“’They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put Him.’ At this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize it was Jesus. ‘Woman,’ He said, ‘why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.” She turned towards Him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!” (which means Teacher.)…Mary went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’” John 20:13-16,18
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26
Father, trusting in Jesus, help me look at Life right now…
The last few months I’ve been doing a lot of pruning on trees and bushes. I grew up watching my horticulturist dad prune. He taught me well. If someone watching me didn’t trust my pruning abilities, they might think I was butchering if not killing the poor tree. If the tree could talk, it might be screaming out- not understanding what the beloved gardener is doing. It appears to be harmful when the cutting starts, but pruning in the hands of a gardener who knows what they are doing is an art. There is a vision of what that tree is capable of becoming. It may be the same tree, but the pruner sees a new creation in an ever-better form. The selective surgery is done, knowing it might take seasons (or perhaps years) to fully develop into the design the gardener has in mind. But the gardener is willing to wait for it to grow into its design.
Father, You are the Master Gardener! You have been doing some major pruning lately. Though it might hurt for a while, I trust what You are doing. I trust the fresh strong growth You are bringing out. I submit to Your design for my life and those who I care deeply for. There are times You cut out a perfectly healthy branch because You know another new fresh branch will come out where the other was cut away. You cut out the dead wood that’s just taking up space and not producing any new life. You cut away one branch where two are rubbing against each other. The constant friction will rub open wounds on both branches, giving entry ways for all kinds of diseases and insects. Then there are times You simply dig up a shrub after pruning and move it to a new location where You need it to flourish and produce.
Lord, though I may squirm or even wrestle under Your pruning; though I hear the cries of those I love who are undergoing pruning- I am already seeing new shoots of life coming out where the pruning took place. Those new buds will make strong branches which will produce much fruit in Your kingdom. Thank You, Lord, for the loving way You tenderly prune with such beauty and purpose in mind. Let me submit willingly to Your Master hand. You made me and You know what You designed me and those around me for. Let us flourish and blossom under Your all-knowing care. I love you , Lord, even when there’s pruning!
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-5
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:10-14
Lord, where are You pruning me? Help me submit to You loving design…
Today marks the next step on an incredible journey with You, Lord. What a joy to go to sleep at night and know that not only will You be with me all night…but You already have this day and all the rest of my days covered as well. I can truly relax and enjoy the adventure. I know I haven’t always trusted You as much on my journey as I do now…and I’m sure my trust will continue to grow as we continue on this expedition. I can remember many times of panic when I came upon a deep pit in the road. I couldn’t see the bottom of that hole and there seemed no way across it or around it…but over and over again- You have made a way where there was no way. There have been times I stood at the base of steep cliffs or a treacherous uphill climb. You know I’m terrified of heights; yet You tenderly encouraged me to start the climb, one step at a time when I could not even see the top of the mountain. You have helped me do what was humanly impossible to do on my own.
What a thrill to make it to the top of arduous climb, trusting You one foot hold at a time. The view at the top showing both how far I had come- along with a peek at the road ahead was breath-taking. You have led me through valleys with the shadow of death darkening my way only to bring Your glorious light for every step the way. You have arranged for me to lie down in lush green pastures with You when I needed rest and recuperation more than I knew. You have been my oasis in the desert when there was no relief of shade or drink in sight and given me living water to restore my soul so I could tread through the desert one step at a time.
The times I have kept my eyes on You instead of the obstacles, You have pointed out beauty all along the journey- sights I might have missed or taken for granted if I wasn’t following Your lead. Not only have You shared magnificent sunrises and sunsets at just the right time; You point out babies’ first smiles, sweet moments with friends and family, divine encounters with strangers, doves sitting above me, children running to hug me, love in the eyes of my grown children for their spouses and children, strength in the weak, hope in the weary, new life in those left for dead, peace in last breaths, the surprise of Your presence at every turn in some new way. I love the journey with You…most of all- because You love me and I love You. So I find joy in Your presence! Hmmm…what will today bring? More of You.
“Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:5-6
“Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.” Psalm 25:4-5
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Father, help me keep my eyes on Jesus today as we go…