Voicing Praise Will Shake the Faulty Foundation of Lies

One night, it was around midnight, on the other side of the planet, two guys were thrown in prison – wrongfully. But their prayer and praise and hymn singing resulted in earth and soul-shaking miracles.

acts1625

The very foundations of the prison were shaken. This was literal. Today, we do not find ourselves in literal prisons – but rather, demonic strongholds, or fortresses. These strongholds also have foundations. What would be the foundation of addiction, for example? The foundation of depression? The foundation of pride? I would venture to suggest that the foundation for most if not all demonic strongholds – that which all outward symptoms are built upon, is deceit. Lies.

When we see our prison-like circumstance as an opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus (in prayer and praise), the very foundation upon which demons have been stationed – becomes powerfully shaken! The core of their arsenal, their “Big Guns”, Lies, are dismantled. Rendered impotent.

And as a result, every time, there is a releasing. There is a spiritual opening of doors, and breaking of chains! 😳

There is a supernatural freedom that accompanies the proclamation of Truth.

But notice – the last 4 words of this passage. “Everyone’s chains were unfastened.”

Freedom did not just come to Paul and to Silas. But when they used their voices in the midst of their utter agony, sitting in their pools of blood, to give praise to Jesus, and lift up expectant prayers…everyone around them who was held captive became free! Paul and Silas’s decision to praise in the prison directly resulted in not just their own release, but the release of everyone else in that dungeon.

Our praise in duress. Our fervent, expectant prayer. Our singing – can do the same. Make it loud. Our God will shake the enemy to his core. He will open doors that were sealed and locked before. He will unfasten tight chains that were once the source of pain.

When have you encountered immediate freedom from bondage after deciding to sing, praise and pray to Jesus?

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I May Not Have Much of a Following

…but that’s totally ok with me. Last year I wanted needed people to subscribe to this blog. I used to have a need for people to like me or my writing so much that they kept coming back for more…of me. I used to desire a following. But in the last 4 or 5 months, that desire has been slowly dying. Once in a while, it’ll take a random gasping breath (like in the movies when you think someone’s dead, but they’re not), but those are probably days I’m hungriest for attention, affirmation & assurance that people like me. Well, guess what;  it’s not about me. I guess (or really hope) that means I’m sort of dying to myself. 

I was never called to be liked. I was never whispered to by God to have a blog with a huge following or have tons of friends. I’m not much of a leader. I don’t even think I was whispered to by God to have a blog. I do know that what I’m called to do is follow Jesus, and if my living, singing, working, writing…  will help anyone else follow Him too, I’m doin’ what He wants of me.

I’ve been convicted this week of spending too much time & energy consumed with technology. Technology’s not a bad thing. I use it mostly to keep in contact with people I care about. But it dawned on me that I still must have this huge “need”, especially since moving 2k mi. away from family last yr., to KNOW and to BE KNOWN. Maybe it’s a girl thing. Maybe it’s a human thing. Yet I’m constantly thinking of how I’d love to get away by myself…well, with a good cup of joe & some quiet time with God.

I was thinking the other day, that I could seriously do some damage (in a good way) by using my time & energy to direct people to Jesus – with that same technology. Instead of feeding my own hunger for acceptance & contact, I will start redirecting…

…and maybe some who (by design) stumble on my sites in the future, may come into contact with and accept the God who created them – a God who is crazy about them.

Yeah, I may sound like Ms. Spiritual at first; my site rating might drop to like 4 million, but I don’t care. What people need (including me) is not another “friend” added to their contact list…or another shallow conversation.

what people need is grace. 

to hear the truth.

forgiveness.  

unconditional love.

a touch when you are hurting.

…all in the form of a Man & His Words.

as certain as death and texas

with hurricane ike’s death toll reaching 51 as of this morning, this great state of texas has been pulling together to help those who’ve survived. my church, calvary austin, put a team together & traveled to calvary houston which along with most of houston, is on its 5th day without power. this is the most current article i’ve found, written about hurricane ike, if you’re more detail-oriented.

here in austin, 300 miles inland, we were safe and warm. disconnected. only felt a brief wind. and it’s back to normal now. normal, disconnected, apathetic, comfortable, enjoyable. yet there’s a lingering sorrow.

there are so many i’m sure, who’ve discovered that a relative or friend is now dead. they may be wondering where that person is now. if they’re in a ‘better place’…or a worse; if there is even a heaven or a hell.

but these are some of the most commonly asked questions about heaven & the afterlife:

  • do pets go to heaven?
  • should Christians be cremated?
  • will we be married or have sex in heaven?
  • should we try to contact the dead?
  • can a person who commits suicide go to heaven?
  • will we remember our lives when we’re in heaven?
  • can people in heaven see what’s happening on earth? and the most important question of all,
  • is there more than one way to get to heaven?

well, earlier this week, my husband & i watched a really great video by craig groeschel who’s studied them all in depth. he gives Biblical explanations, references, answers and opinions for each one of them. i hope this video brings clarity to anyone on their spiritual journey to truth.

but before you navigate away, if you’re a praying person, could you agree w/me in this short prayer?

God, forgive those of us who forget so quickly those in need. quicken our hearts to action, giving us the faith needed to step out & use our resources, whatever they may be. show yourself real and your love present in the lives of those who have lost people they care so much about. bring them peace, beyond understanding.

you are still our God, unchanging and trustworthy. and we love you.

(photo taken not in texas, but haiti where the death toll is over 300 after back-to-back storms. read this well-written article about haiti if you can)

raising the bar, pt.1 “a blameless worship team”

titus 1:6-9

An elder (overseer) must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious. For an elder must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money. Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught”

raise the bar

this specifically addresses elders, but let’s consider the possibility that it was written for a more general audience, ministers & leaders in the church. if i’m on a worship team, i’m not just an artist, i’m a minister, right? i stand on the same platform Continue reading

shattered glass

what happens when your world, as peaceful & good as you think it is, falls apart almost suddenly? what do you do when you hear the news – the kind of news that not just changes your year, but your entire life? you can try to move on, do your best to reconcile your feelings of disappointment & confusion. you may find it easier, in the moment, to skirt around the issue or even ignore it. have you ever had a child stand 2 inches from your face, staring at you? it seems impossible to not look back. ignoring never works. looking back is ok until we can say “i’m doing everything i can do to let God work.” looking back as a means of facing your own short-comings with humility & honesty so that you can learn from them, is different than “dwelling in the past”. looking back for short periods with a heart of thankfulness and self-examination is crucial. remembering triggers, thought patterns, habits & lures can be hugely instrumental in keeping us from making poor choices in the future.

and yet, even when we believe it’s been pretty well worked out, reminders have their way, don’t they.

my son helps with a few things around the house like dust-busting the kitchen floor, cleaning, and emptying the dishwasher. tuesday he was moving all the cups to the counter and trying a shortcut by stacking them. just as i saw him stack two glasses, i chimed in, “woah, there! you shouldn’t stack glasses!” quickly, he pulled the top one out of the other. “…they could br…” and it shattered. thin shards flickered all across the floor.

5 years. pornography and a messy affair threatened to obliterate our unity as a family. oh, that’s not how long it lasted. that’s how long ago it happened. both our lives were terribly affected by the lies. there is hope!! but trust is so slow moving. even after this long… after so many boundaries and kept promises, after our marriage has seriously grown, & we are restored, i can still step on a sharp piece of broken glass. it’s few & far between, but we still struggle. we haven’t done all our learnin’ just yet.

a strange text message or email, a late poker night with work friends…they can lead to lies in my head. those bastards (the lies) can stab my sole and make it bleed ’til of course, we talk it out like grown-ups. me & my husband…and me & my God. and i’m healed again.

trust breaks. it happens with abandonment, or the death of someone very close. it happens with verbal or physical or sexual abuse or when a parent lets you down. it happens when your son looks you in the eye & lies.

but i continually find comfort in this truth: His mercies really are new every morning.

have you ever committed to building trust again after it was shattered? how long did it take to restore? do those stupid tiny pieces of broken glass ever really go away…completely?

a scripture & more

isaiah 65…and me

1“I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help.

i didn’t ask because i had too much pride to. i thought i could handle my bad habits and secret sins and stressful days without any help, from anyone. or i was too ashamed to talk to you about it.

I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.

I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.

i know. you could’ve delivered me. but i was too busy. too wrapped up in my own selfish wants. instead of you, i looked for other things to sustain & calm me, even for a minute ~ a hershey bar, a latte’, a “comment”, sex, a new purse, an insanely good musician, my own family, gossip…

2 All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people.

i know. my Bible next to the couch laid open with promises and grace and truth to find again. to rediscover. it was right by my son’s pirate treasure box. that was fitting. i remember the prodigal son. such a powerful image of open arms.

your spirit whispers in my ear all the time.

3 All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols…

i look in the mirror & i think i actually make self image & body image my idol. as well as public opinion. some days, the computer or movies can willingly & easily take your rightful place

5 Yet they say to each other,
‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me!
I am holier than you!’

like sunday morning in church when i thought that black usher was looking me up & down, but he was probably just looking to see if i needed a Bible or bulletin. i don’t want people that aren’t like me to invade my personal space. at times i think i’m somehow holier, without a word exchanged.

“holier”. if i drift from reality, i can actually convince myself that my good deeds & gifts to charity are worth holy-points to you, kept on a celestial dry erase board

These people are a stench in my nostrils,
an acrid smell that never goes away.

forgive me. please forgive me. you are my first love. your worth to me is greater than any of these things. i do need your help to react to everyday life, even the good days.

i see you. i call on your name. i run into your arms. i want my life to be an offering, one of a sweet smell that never goes away. i love you.

worship to a new song…from hillsong: “HEALER”

UPDATED 8/21: what i’ve learned about this song’s writer is disappointing…but it doesn’t change the fact that God doesn’t change. the lyrics still ring true. the most impacting way to glorify God is through our lifestyles. and the most impacting time? when we are in our most broken state.

i’m praying that through this controversy, the essence of true grace be realized in churches & Christians worldwide. for more on this story, i’ll just “ping” you over to chris from canada who’s posted some really great thoughts & discussion…and has more time than myself, to write on this.

how ’bout this week, let’s think about what God’s Word says: pray for those who hurt you.

7/9: how can we not worship HIM!? every time we do, truth rings in our hearts & our faith is strengthened.