The Nylon Strings (#recall12, July)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s great Word together each month! This month’s verse is:

“The Lord is my strength and my song.” Exodus 15:2

#recall12 July image 1

“TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG….”

I’m enjoying this. I love to listen to her play. Don’t criticize her for playing. Think about something else….

In the beginning stages of my daughter’s love for her ukulele, there was a lot of inward coaching I had to do in order to let her discover her own sound. It was music to my ears to hear her musical genius uncle tell her that her instrument had nylon strings …and she was  going to knock them out of tune by banging on them so hard.

“But I just like to jam,” she argued.

“Well, you need metal strings if you want to jam like that …” he explained.

“TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG-TWANG….”She still wasn’t convinced.

“You heard what your uncle said,” I reminded, “if you snap a string on that uke because you’re stubborn, I’m not replacing it.”

Eye-roll …but compliance.

Oh, the sweet sound.

This month’s verse highlights the stubbornness of humanity …and God’s people. Fresh off a victory over Pharoh’s army and witness to them being swallowed by the Red Sea, there is abundant praise for God and His provision and protection.

“I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea. -Exodus 15:1

It’s on the heals of this that this months verse is bellowed for all to hold dear forevermore:

“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.#recall12 July tweet 1
He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” -Exodus 15:2


How easy it is to give praise on top of the mountain of victory…
When the trumpets are blaring and the confetti is flying and the finish line tape rips across our chests and the publisher loves our idea and our children are successful ….

But it’s quite another thing to elevate our hearts to this level of praise before we witness the victory we seek. It’s not always going to look so big.

Sometimes, victory as we see it doesn’t come. God seems quiet. The nylon strings seem to be holding up just fine. So we jam on. Hard.

Until we snap.

That can look different for everyone. Temptation of all manner is waiting for opportunities like these. When we’re sitting in the pocket of victory,  we’re most likely to snap.

“The Lord is my strength and my song.” Exodus 15:2 #recall12 July Tweet 2

This month’s verse isn’t situational. Whether you are jamming on your nylon strings, staring at a snapped one, or have moved on to more durable metal strings …jam on. Because unlike an instrument, God’s song is not interrupted when we break. He doesn’t miss a beat. Whether we know it, see it, or hear Him  …He always hears …always cares …and always loves.

Our omnipotent God is unstoppable.

We are not Him, but we are made in His image.

“Music played a major role in the lives of people in biblical times. It was used in both sacred and secular activities and was most often associated with joy and celebration.”  Dictionary of Bible Themes

In Exodus 15:1-21, music celebrates victory.

victory-a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war. -dictionary.com#recall12 July image 2

Victories are not exclusive to armies and athletics. They are the stuff of our Savior. Everyday miracles and tally-mark wins. Tempers calmed and callings chased. Jesus knows what it’s like to be human, and He knows that we are not capable of handling ourselves as He …the very Son of God and Spotless Lamb …did.

We’re incapable of carrying a tune without Armor. Hand Him what you can’t handle.

He is our strength.

We were never meant to be as strong as we try to be. We were created to lean in …to Him.

In the small victories and challenging moments of this month, let’s remember this verse …and sing a song … to our Strength.

#recall12 July image 3

Father, Praise You …for You alone are our Strength and our Shield. In times of trouble and in times of naivety, thank You for protecting and upholding us with Your just hand. We confess to snapping strings in the process of seeking our own method of progress. Forgive us, and send Your Spirit to bless us and fortify our hearts with Your Word and will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Happy Singing!

Megs

CLICK HERE OR ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR FREE VERSE MEMORY CARDS.

#recall12 July memory cards

#recall12 July Verse Memory Cards PDF

This post may occasionally be linked up at the following parties. Come join us!

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The Great Thirty-eight. (#recall12 series, June.)

Welcome to the #recall12 series, where we are memorizing a little bit of God’s Word each month! This month’s verse is :

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b

#recall12 June image 1

“Thirty-eight is going to be great.”

God has been whispering this blessing over my life as I peer into the next year of it. The last decade of my life has been riddled with challenge and laced in blessing. Each encroaching birthday is little scarier than the last.

With each year, more are diagnosed, suffer, and pass away. The people that it’s happening to are getting closer and closer in direct contact with my life. Friends, family …cancer.

“Cancer sucks,” my 8-year-old daughter declares …and I sigh.#recall12 June tweet 1

Cancer is scary. Life is terrifying.

Parting is unfathomable.

With each passing year, I have more to lose …and that particular fear would like to plant it’s paralyzing seed right smack in the center of my heart. Fear of loss can only be overcome by perfect Love.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Lying in the first part of this month’s verse is the fan to fear’s flame. “The thief…”

thief-One that steals especially stealthily or secretly. -Merriam-Webster

The NIV Study Bible Notes declare, “His interest is in himself.” Indeed. Selfishness is akin to theft …and fear.

#recall12 June Tweet 2selfishness- Concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself. Merriam-Webster

Excessive and exclusive leave no room for the devil’s care for us. He’s messing to make us miserable enough to forgo the blessings in front of us. Worry and anxiety play an important role in what he’s trying to accomplish. His hope is that our hold on the world will overshadow the joy of Jesus’ heavenly embrace.

His breath filled all things

    with a living, breathing light—
 A light that thrives in the depths of darkness,
    blazes through murky bottoms.
It cannot and will not be quenched. John 1:4-5

Jesus is Life and Light. No new worry we discover to fret over is new news to Jesus, who sat with God from the very beginning of time. He knew us before birth, and I imagine that the Words He ordained to be written in the Bible for us to read were spoken with all of us in mind.

Through the darkness then, and murky bottoms now, He is Light and Life. Unstoppable. Unbeatable. Alive.

#recall12 June image 2

“The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.” John 10:10 (VOICE)

There is a joyful and abundant life to be lived here on earth, knowing that He wins. We win. Death may part us from our friends and family. Cancer will steal time and break hearts. There’s no need to reach for wretched news to wreck our day. But just as it surrounds us, so does He. In the sunrise, He reminds us He is here. In the smile of a child, He reminds us Life is good. Through the unexpected note from a friend or a hug from a stranger, He shows us that He cares.

Are we looking for life, or waiting for death?

“The Greek word for “life” is found 36 times in John, while no other NT book uses it more than 17 times.” NIV Notes.

Life … “zoe”in Greek, means both of physical (present) and of spiritual (particularly future) existence. The Lord intimately shares His gift of life with people, creating each in His image which gives all the capacity to know His eternal life. (Strong’s Concordance.)

Someone said to me recently that sometimes doubt can mean we are actually on the right track. Knowing the full scope of what the devil is up to, that makes perfect sense. He can’t make us do anything …but he can cause us to wobble in and out of doubt and anxiety. Fear is an attack on every good thing the Father has in store for us. All of the joy that Jesus died to lend us. Life was not promised to be easy …or fair …or painless …or always happy. There are times in this life that we will barely be able to lift our heads to the sky and ask Him , “why?”

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 (NIV)

Let’s continue to lift our heads and hold onto hope. It’s not a fairytale wish, but it is the stuff of fairy tales. Our Redeemer King has already rescued us. Live what He saved to the fullest.

#recall12 series June image 3

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10b

Father, Praise You for Life. Thank You for Jesus’ gift to us. Grace surrounds us, yet we fail on so many occasions to face it. Forgive us for looking past You for comfort, and help us to fiercely follow Your Son’s footsteps each day that we are blessed with on this earth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Happy Birthdays!

Megs

Click here, or on the image below, for FREE VERSE MEMORY CARDS!

recall12_pdf_june_image

#recall 12 June Verse Memory Cards PDF

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The Puppy Principle (#recall12 series)

“Would you like to get well?” John 5:6b (NLT)

recall12-mar-tweet-1Sweating down the sidewalk past lunchtime, calvary of whiners in tow, I tried to focus on the petunias lining the lakefront streets. Aggravated by the lack of parental response, foot stomping and arm tugging ensued. The shrill demand escalated to a bossy holler each time my toddler strode past another furry friend.

Girl wanted a puppy. But her parents were not puppy people. Not even dog people. Barely cat people.

A happy life requires a walk of faith that fuels the good things meant for our future. This month’s #recall12 verse will show us how, in letting go, we grab who we are destined to be.recall12-mar2

1. Dreams are God-placed.

 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.” John 5:4-5

Sometimes we don’t want to get well because we don’t realize our lack. Of course this man wanted to get well. But he’d been sick for so long it was hard for him to imagine it actually happening. Instead of blind faith in the possibility, the man rehearsed a life’s worth of rationalizations competing against his opportunity to be healed.

When we don’t consult our Creator before discounting ourselves, we’re in danger of missing miraculous healing. Operating outside the will of God won’t allow us to experience the good He has plan for us.

2. Dreams are too big for us to accomplish on our own.

“When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” John 5:6

Do we want our dreams, or God’s dream for us? Our good Father created mankind out of love. We want His dream over anything we could possibly conjure up.recall12-martweet2

This verse is an important question to ask ourselves anytime we’re in faced with decision. It has the capability to reveal sickness. Sometimes we don’t know we’re sick until we look back at how we used to feel, or forward to a timeline we can’t fill in.

3. Dreams are built into the fabric of our person.

 ‘I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.'” John 5:7

recall12-mar2How often do we operate in blind trust without knowing for certain what the future holds?To stake claim on the God-sized dreams He crafted us to accomplish, we must recognize who we are and the work we have to do.

How often to we make excuses like the man in the  passage? In his defense, he may have perceived his prose as simple matter of fact. Those of us who see the healing coming wonder, “where is your faith?” No painful situation easily attaches itself to faith. It takes discipline to have faith when it hurts …and it’s hard.

4. Dreams are work we get to do.

“Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!'” John 5:8

The people of Joshua Chapter 3 might have missed walking through a river on dry ground, had they sat around and asked questions first …doubted that they could …or waited to see what they would get in return for their hard work.

Imagine what the man in John Chapter 5 might have become had he said, “no, I don’t think I can…” or “Jesus, that’s impossible.”

We are the image of a God who does the impossible. It’s our belief …our faith …that needs to catch up. In relationship with our Father, a privilege Jesus gave His life for, we can continually pray for guidance. Step by step, God will illuminate the work required to meander the path of our life’s purpose.

5. Dreams don’t have to wait.

“Instantly, the man was healed!” John 5:9arecall12-mar3

When we wake up each day with intention to seek God’s design for our lives, He is faithful
to answer and send His Spirit to guide our way …right away. When we walk with Christ, we live in happiness amidst the darkness. The switch can be flipped in an instant. The winds of change are swift.

Four years after the foot stomp parade along the petunia-lined streets, the “we will never have a dog” people are total dog people. Looking back, my husband and I are still shocked at the shift of our hearts. “I’m still not a dog person,” says my husband, who searched for just the right puppy …named her …and bought her a Christmas sweater.

Stay open, in prayer, for unexpected winds of change.

Happy Puppy-Principling,

Megs

Click here or on the image below to download FREE verse memory cards! 

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Happy Link-ing!!!  Megs

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The Flash Drive (#recall12 series)

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The Holy Spirit ignites within the moment we believe in Christ, opening our eyes and ears to interpret God’s living Word. Prayer is like a flash drive containing the situational solutions to all of our problems. It’s useful to save a few key life verses on it, which is recall-12-feb-verseexactly what we’re doing here in the #recall12 series. In our struggle to find a way, God leads us to pray.

“Always pray and never give up.” Luke 18:1 (NLT)

1. Persistance 

“He told them a parable, urging them to keep praying and never grow discouraged.” Luke 18:1 (VOICE)

This month’s memory verse is a prelude to ‘The Parable of the Persistant Widow.’ Through the story of a woman seeking a judge’s verdict, Jesus taught the his followers the value in persistent and perseverant prayer.

Though our gut’s reaction is to freakishly scramble for hurried solutions, God’s presence beckons to employ a prayerful flow of continued conversation.recall12-feb-2

2. Consistence

“He paid no attention to her request for a while, but then he said to himself,“I don’t care about what God thinks of me, much less what any mere human thinks.  But this widow is driving me crazy. She’s never going to quit coming to see me unless I hear her case and provide her legal protection.'” Luke 18:4-5

If this judge “didn’t care,” he wound’t have felt it necessary to broach the topic of this widow’s plight. The prodding of his heart was not his own conscience shifting, but someone else’s prayers being upheld.

God hears us. More importantly, He tells us to keep talking. Keep praying. When frustration emerges, let’s determine to pray into it, wait for God to lead us out of it …and have faith that He will.

3. Silence 

Did you catch what this self-assured judge said? If he can be moved to act justly, won’t God bring justice for His chosen people when they cry to Him day and night? Will He be slow to bring them justice?” Mark 8:6-7

God’s determination to help His people has little to do with our resolve to act rightly. He seeks to help those who seek Him, whether or not we are privy to His reality. God is not dependent upon any human behavior to justify His response. Jesus’ death on the cross gave His believers the opportunity to cry out to the Father in prayer, and trust that He hears and answers.recall12-feb-3

Gossip hurts. Isolation stings. Injury is painful. Sickness is defeating. Loss is agonizing. God’s voice can seem deafeningly quiet to us when our situation is bleak and our hearts are broken. Though we may not see and here God the way we seek to, the promise of His presence is always present. In a conversation so personal we couldn’t describe it if we wanted to, He leads us through every season in the silent wanderings of our prayers.

4. Omnipotence

(Jesus emphasizes that the kingdom of God will not come through valiant efforts but as people pray, “may Your kingdom come,” with persistence and with humility.)” Luke 18:8 (VOICE)

Trust that God controls what we do not: healing, death, conception, time, creation and purpose. Ending our prayers “In Jesus Name,” declares our faith in His will over our prayer requests and our lives. We must be careful to pour our hearts out in prayer to Him and then let go. Grasping for control only causes us to sink further into our plight. But when we let go of the answer we want to hear and listen for the one He is laying out before us, miracles become visible. Coincidence connects answered prayer.

recall12-feb-2The conversations we have with the Father bleed out onto and into life.  He’s privy to our seat in the auditorium. Pop in the flash drive, transfer the data over to Him, and download His answer. It’s what Jesus died for …relationship with God.

Father, Praise You for Your listening ear and compassion for us. You tell us to pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1) You are powerful to trump any form of justice set upon this earth with Your omnipotent hand. God, You ARE love. You ARE grace. 

Praise for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, allowing us to pour our hearts into Your healing hands. In conversation with You, keep our eyes open and our ears attentive to Your will for our lives over our prayer requests. Surround us with Your purpose for our lives, and compassionate love when life is impossible.

Forgive us for our lack of stamina, and remind us of Jesus death on the cross. Bless Your Spirit to our hearts and minds to remember this verse today, and always. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Happy Downloading,

Megs

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Fear Fighting: When You’ve Gotta Have Control

It’s my honor to host a post from one of my favorite writers, Kelly Balarie. Praise God for her
faithfulness to bring this amazing message on conquering fear out into the world! Sit back and get ready to soak up some courage … 

When I thought about fighting as a child, it was normally with my siblings. I’d sink my nails into them, they’d shriek. I’d see a injustice, like them taking my pile of lego’s and I’d tackle them. I was the oldest, so I could always win. I liked it that way.

Yet, somewhere along the lines, I think I’ve lost my power. I like winning position; I’m strong there. Yet, now, I feel like people, life, and situations are acting on me, more than I’m acting on them. For a girl who harnesses the idea of being in control, this makes me feel – well, out of control. I deeply dislike that.

Do you feel out of control? Do you feel all alone, fighting for a life that you can’t seem to wrangle to order?

I know the ache. I feel the helplessness. I relate to the struggle.

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Certainly, I am well aware of the fact I’m not supposed to be running my life. Certainly, I know that Jesus rules. Certainly, I know that he is the one who holds power, even when I mistakenly think I do. The bible is clear on this.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Prov. 19:21

I know I am out of control, but my mind still tells me I’m in control.

Where does a woman go when she is stuck in this place?

Just yesterday, I was frustrated at myself for over-managing my children, yet again. I’d spoken too sternly, punished too heavily and disconnected my heart immensely. The drive home from school-drop off was painful. “I’ve just got to let go of control,” I thought to myself.

My car stopped. A bus had put out its “stop” sign. Into the bus went the children. It wasn’t the children, my eye was drawn to, however, it was the parents. There they stood, arms waving, madly. Kisses blowing, in rapid succession. Bodies running after the bus as it took off. Sadness, filling their face as their little pieces of joy took off.

I realized something: God wants me to know He is with me on my journey.

He doesn’t just tell me to do and abandon me. He doesn’t kick me out the door to hustle, alone in the cold, to his purposes. He runs up, alongside me. He cheers me on as I go – with Him. He delights in the journey of us going together. He wishes me well. Like a good daddy, he has good plans for me.

He meets me and moves with me – he runs alongside me. He even goes before me.

The fight with control is not about battling it to the ground; it is knowing that God covers my future ground with me. It is realizing that as I give up my ways, He presents his. I’m not left for ruin. I’m not left alone. I’m not left behind.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deut. 31:8

About the book, Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears:Paperback3DTemplates_5.5x8.5.indd

Author and Speaker, Kelly Balarie didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course. Join Kelly, on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s counsel and God’s unending love that squelches fear. This book reads like a love letter from God, while offering practical heart-calming prayers,
anxiety-reducing tips, and courage-building decrees that will transform your day.

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About Kelly Balarie:

Kelly is both a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She leans on the power of God, rests on the shoulder of Christ, and discovers how to glow in the dark places of life. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog, Purposeful Faith. You can also find a variety of resources for your fight against fear at http://www.fearfightingbook.com/.