Saturday, February 27, 2010

Trust and Obey

I've been studying the life of Abraham and specifically God's covenant with him. In Genesis 15 God promises Abram that he will have an heir and his descendants will be as numerous as the stars. Again in Genesis 17 God confirms this covenant and changes Abram's name to Abraham, father of many. Years go by before Isaac, Abraham's son, is actually born. Then when Isaac is still a boy, God asked Abraham to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Abraham obeys.

The story is found in Genesis 22. Abraham and Isaac are going to make the sacrifice, carrying the wood, fire and a knife. Ironically we only see Isaac ask one question during their walk up the mountain. Isaac asks, "Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham assures him that God himself will provide the lamb. So we know now that Isaac doesn't have a clue that he's the sacrifice; he believes his father. Abraham sets up the altar, binds Isaac up and lays him on it. Just as he is about to slay Isaac, an angel of the Lord stops him. Abraham is blessed because he fears the Lord; he was willing to give up his own son.

This whole story makes me ask a lot of questions. Like how do you find the strength to walk up a mountain knowing that you're going to sacrifice your son, the only son you have? How does Abraham reconcile this request with God's promise that he will have numerous descendants? How does Isaac feel when he realizes he's the burnt offering? What must he think when Abraham, his father, is about to kill him? Further when Isaac hears the angel commend Abraham's obedience, what must that do for his faith?

The answer for Abraham is found in the beginning of this story. Genesis 15:6 says, "Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness." You see Abraham knew what God promised- numerous descendants. He didn't know how and surely it didn't make sense that his one son would be taken away. But he believed God.

We're often asked to make sacrifices; granted it's usually on a much smaller scale! Maybe it's time, resources or simply the way we thought something should work out. The question is do we believe God? Do we trust Him enough to gather our supplies, walk the path, and leave the rest to Him?

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Do I Know of Holy

Here's Music Monday introducing "What Do I Know of Holy" by Addison Road. My husband introduced me to this song a couple of months ago. I'm still not sure that I've heard it on the radio, but we got the cd and it's being played often in my car and on my ipod. I love the words and the arrangement-it's just beautiful. The whole cd for that matter is really good.

Lately this song has caused me to think about how we can get into a mode of just doing this thing called life and forget about God. Especially when life is going well, we may tend to live like we think that it's our ability or our intelligence that's at work. Recently I've also had tough conversations about how life isn't going quite so well and the wonder of what God is up to. Either way the focus gets off of who God is and on to what we're doing.

This song is a great reminder that we have a God who is very powerful, ever present, mighty and just. His grace and mercy are matchless. I'm not sure how much I know about holy. It probably barely scratches the surface. But I do know the One who is Holy and that's worth remembering every day. What do you think?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Crazy Love

I started reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan about two months ago. It was so good to me, that I wouldn't read it unless I could fully concentrate and not be interrupted. I recently finished it, and if you haven't read it, you should. (Of course, that's just my opinion and worth nothing.)

However, I wish I could show you my copy. Pages are marked up and written all over with my thoughts about what Mr. Chan says and my personal convictions. His writing was so fresh, and raw that I found myself not wanting to finish the book. It is genuine and in your face about how we, as Christians, should be living our lives.

This post was going to include some of my favorite quotes from the book that would hopefully entice you to read it also. But there's no way I can narrow it down and not just re-publish his book! So in Francis Chan's own words, here's what you'll find in the preface (yes even the preface is that good) on page 21:

"This book is written for those who want more Jesus. It is for those who are bored with what American christianity offers. It is for those who don't want to plateau, those who would rather die before their convictions do."

I love that he says "more Jesus", and not more of, or more from. Simply more Jesus. If that describes you, go get it. And if you've already read it, please let me know your favorite part(s). one asked me to talk about this book, I just wanted to, because I really enjoyed reading it. For me, that's good, because I seriously do not read a lot of books, outside of the BIBLE!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Emanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)

I heard this song , Emanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)for the first time in mid-December at Chris Tomlin's Glory In The Highest Tour. I remember thinking as he sang that this should be in hymnals! It is such a beautiful reminder of our Emanuel-God with us. I know this was part of his Christmas cd, but I listen to it all the time. This particular you tube version has a great slide show with it also. Enjoy.

Emanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) by Chris Tomlin

What hope we hold this starlit night
A King is born in Bethlehem
Our journey long, we seek the light
That leads to the hallowed manger ground

What fear we felt in the silent age
Four hundred years can He be found
But broken by a baby's cry
Rejoice in the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
God incarnate here to dwell
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Praise His name Emmanuel

The son of God, here, born to bleed
A crown of thorns would pierce His brow
And we beheld this offering
Exalted now the King of kings
Praise God for the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
God incarnate here to dwell
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

Praise His name Emmanuel
Praise His name Emmanuel
Oh, praise His name Emmanuel

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When the Saints Go Marching In

Music Monday turned into Tuesday this week...because the Saints won the Super Bowl and we're still recovering in the Turner house! We are big fans and it was such a thrill to see them finally win. Congratulations Saints...enjoy your parade.

So in honor of the XLIV Super Bowl Champs, the New Orleans Saints, here's Louis Armstrong. This is such a jazzy and swinging version of "When the Saints go Marching in", I love it. The lady in the background makes me smile too! Enjoy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Leap of Faith

This week I took a leap of faith. It would be nice to say right here that I did it without fear and trembling, but that would be a lie. However, I knew in my heart that this was God's direction and not mine.

A few years ago, I wrote a Bible Study and led it to a couple of women's small groups. Everything went well and I received some great feedback. Then I put it on a shelf...for a couple of years. This past summer the door opened for me to submit a proposal of the study to four different publishers. So I dusted it off and got everything ready. Two of the publishers took my proposal; I couldn't believe it. The representatives gave me some encouraging feedback as well. Unfortunately neither of them decided to pursue publishing the study, so I thought I'd put it back on a shelf. But God had a different plan.

This week I signed an agreement to self-publish the study and it will be out this Fall! I'm thrilled, nervous and overwhelmed by God's grace through this process. It would have been so easy to just remain in my comfort zone and lead the study as opportunities came. However, at every turn over the last few months, God has said to me "Believe, Have Faith, Keep Moving." No I've not heard an audible voice, at least not God's. But through sermons, teachings and my own personal time with Him, He has spoken clearly. The message has been consistent, whether it's been through my pastor, a favorite teacher, a sweet friend or a song I hear. Keep moving, trust me, don't stop. So as my pastor said recently, I stepped on the gas of my faith...probably with my eyes closed, but I'm moving forward!

Be encouraged today. Trust God and move forward if you are hearing the same message consistently. He's speaking!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Monday, February 1, 2010

Music Mondays

What's "Music Mondays"? I'm glad you asked! It's a new post I hope to accomplish each week sharing a song or lyric that I enjoy. I love music and especially music that makes me think about God in a different way or encourages me to walk closer with Him. So I'm starting a new thing here on the blog…every Monday I'll post about a song or lyric that I've heard that will hopefully inspire you and help make your Monday a little bit brighter.

Why Monday? Monday's were always my least favorite day when I worked outside of the home and I needed a little inspiration to get going. The traffic always seemed worse, the kids didn't want to get going and neither did I. Most folks would take Friday's off; not me. I wanted to be off on Mondays, and besides Monday starts with an M and so does Music!! It's shallow I know, but after all it is a Monday people! So here goes…..

I Desire by Natalie Grant

This is an older song, from her Deeper Life cd. If you've never heard this song, click here. (Scratch that, I can't find a full recording of it on the web! Here's a 30 second one of the chorus...sorry.) First, Natalie's voice is a gift, a real treasure. I'm pretty sure she got double-dipped during her vocal chords creation, because she sounds angelic! The song seems to be written as a prayer and I often use it as one. Whenever I'm walking around the neighborhood or on my treadmill, it's always one of the songs I listen to and pray back to God.

My favorite line in the song says, "so fill me with a fire, that burns away my doubts and all my fears, into a place where You are all I hear". Doubt and fear can be paralyzing at times, causing us to question if we hear God at all. But when our passion is to know Christ, they don't have a hold on us. Ask God to fill you with a fire, a passion, that burns away anything that keeps you from Him. Below are the lyrics to the whole song.

I Desire by Natalie Grant

Here in this world that you've designed
From the rolling plains to the oceans
Deep and wide
Where are the words that can say what's
In my heart
All that I am is amazed by who you are

The one thing I desire
Is just to know you more
To live a life that moves and breathes
And loves to bring you joy
So fill me with a fire
That burns away my doubts and all my fears
Into a place where you are all I hear
It's the one thing I desire
To do what you require
Is the one thing I desire

To love when I'd rather turn away
To give when I'm more resigned to take
To reach out a hand to someone who
Feels alone
The way you reached for me
When there seemed to be no hope

I'll live my life serving Christ
Offering a sacrifice of praise