Resist the Devil

Uncertain times provide the devil with a host of opportunities.  We tend to become depressed and discouraged.  We’re worried about what might happen next.  We begin to doubt.  Is God really at work?  Can we trust Him?  The book of James tells us:

”  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. ”  James 4:7

What does it mean to resist the devil?  Well, for one thing, maintaining our spiritual disciplines, as I discussed in a previous post (Coping With Uncertainty), study the Bible, attend worship, celebrate the sacraments, pray, seek guidance from Christian leaders and friends.  Martin Luther, who was a musician and wrote many great hymns, had a strong belief in the power of music. Here’s his suggestion!

“The devil, the originator of sorrowful anxieties and restless troubles, flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God….Music is a gift and grace of God, not an invention of men. Thus it drives out the devil and makes people cheerful. Then one forgets all wrath, impurity, and other devices.”
Martin Luther

If you can’t sing in church these days, sing at home!  Hum your favorite hymn.  Dwell on the comforting words.  Sing with your children (my kids and I used to sing in the car all the time when they were little).  Turn on the radio.  Get out your LP’s (if you still have them), your CD’s or subscribe to Spotify.  Do whatever you need to do to put some music back into your life.  It will lift your spirits, focus your mind on God and foil the devil.

For more on music, see these posts:

Music as a Dynamic

Music as Prayer

Lutherans and Music

For more Martin Luther quotes on music, see these posts:

Why We Should Give Thanks for Music (according to Martin Luther)

Martin Luther on Music

Martin Luther on Music #2

For some inspiring music, check these out:

God Will Take Care of You

Just a Little Talk With Jesus

Built On A Rock

 

 

 

Life Was Filled With Guns And Wars…

While we’re on Beginnings and Endings, I thought I’d bring up the very last ending, the Second Coming, ’cause Jesus is coming again.  That will be a beautiful ending and beginning for us, but not for others.

When I was a new christian back in the 70’s (I’m dating myself now), there were all sorts of debates about the Rapture going on that didn’t matter.  We were all concerned about how and when the Lord was going to return and what it was going to be like.  I’ve gotten past that now, because it doesn’t matter.  We have to be ready, every day for the Lord to return.  We have to live our lives as if in the next moment He will return.  We need to be about the Lord’s work every day.

This is a song that was a big christian hit back in the day…  I used to sing it with my guitar and usually a bunch of people would join me.  The video on this is from the 70’s, ’cause most of us grew up with Vietnam, war protests and political unrest.  It seemed like the Lord was going to show up any moment and that is the time when this song was written.

I Wish We’d All Been Ready by Larry Norman:

Praise Him Now???

We’ve all had times that we get mad at God.  Accidents, death, loss of job; the list can be endless.  But we have to remember that God is sovereign, He is in control even when everything around us seems to be in chaos.

Almost thirty years ago my mother died and I got really mad at God.  It wasn’t that she had died, but the way she died.  For the six months before she died she was a vegetable.  Staring into space, no response from any stimulation.  It was heartbreaking.  She finally died of pneumonia, but by that time I was so mad at God for “doing that” to her.

Looking back now, I know that my getting mad at God didn’t change anything.  It isn’t like He’s going to apologize.  But during that time I learned that no matter  what happens, God is in control.

Recently, my family is going through some extremely tough decisions.  It’s breaking  hearts and causing some depression.  I’ve learned to remind my family that God is in control and He’s got this.  We need to praise Him, no matter what.

This is my “go to” song during times like these.  It sums up the feelings that you have during any crisis.  Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns just nails this.

Mary, a Servant

It’s Christmas time and one of the Lord’s greatest servants doesn’t get equal time with the birth of our Lord.  Of course, I’m talking about Mary!  Just think, and put yourself in her shoes a minute.  You are young, probably only teen-aged, betrothed to be married, and this Angel appears and tells you that of all the people on earth you are chosen to carry God’s son.  I don’t know about you, but I’d be really freaked out.  Mary only said:

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.  (Luke 1:38)

I’m sure that Mary had some rough days ahead.  Carrying this baby for nine months and traveling to Bethlehem.  What if Mary had refused.  We can’t even conceptualize that now, 2000 years later.  She was the perfect servant, even though I would bet she had her moments of doubt.

Breath Of Heaven sung by Amy Grant is a hauntingly beautiful song.  It just puts Mary’s position in perspective.  It helps that the images in this video is from the movie “Nativity Story”.  Just a warning, this song always makes me cry.

 

Who Sang the First Song by Ellie Holcomb — Book Review

This delightful little book was written by Ellie Holcomb, a musician who began her career touring with the Americana band, Drew Holcomb (her husband) and the Neighbors.  She was named Best New Artist at the 2014 Dove Awards.  Maybe some of her music could be reviewed on an upcoming post?  Beth Ann?

At any rate, this children’s book combines Ellie’s love for music with thoughts of God and His creation.  Who sang the first song?  Was it in the wind?  The waves?  The roar of the lion? Of course, we learn that the original singer was God Himself, who as Ellie says, “He wrote His song into everything.”  Everyone of us, and all of God’s beloved world are invited to make a joyful noise, because we were made to sing.

I enjoyed the fanciful illustrations(thank you Kayla Harren) and the brief, but inspiring text, and I think young children would enjoy this book as well.  A copy is definitely going on the Christmas list for my yet-to-be-born granddaughter, Hailey!

I give this book five stars!  If you want to purchase it, you can go to the following link:

http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/products/who-sang-the-first-song

 

You Say

Have you ever fought those feelings that make you feel like God is distant?  You can’t get close to the Lord?  You wonder if he’s even out there or if he even cares?  Maybe you’re going through a rough time right now and just can’t connect with God?

Even though it may be one of the hardest things to do you must believe that God’s in control.  He knows you better than you know yourself.  Our job is to get to know God through His Word.  This is so hard when you are going through a bad time.  I know, because I’ve been there.  There were days when I wondered if God even heard my pleas.  Then I would take a deep breath, close my eyes and just let peace be what I ask for.

The song “You Say” by Lauren Daigle says all this very well.  I believe….

 

 

More Grace

I receive morning devotionals every morning from several sources.  One is from a pastor that I’ve known for years and he is the one that married my husband and I, and baptized both of our children.  I enjoy hearing from him every day.

The thought for today included this:

There is an infinite depth in our Lord that can never be exhausted. The excitement continues as the Lord draws us closer to Himself. Continue to read, think, and pray. There is always more grace, truth, and real excitement in walking day by day with Jesus Christ.

Wow, just wow.  This really hit me.  We cannot run out of His Grace, we can always receive more.  There is no “getting there”, we are always moving closer to our Lord.

As usual with me, when I think of things like this, a song came to mind.  Enjoy.

My Own Little World

I know that I’m guilty of living in my own world.  Something is going on in my life and I pull all the sensors in, so to speak.  I don’t look out into the world and see the pain and suffering that is out there.  If I don’t see it, I can’t do anything about it.  Not even pray.  I’m centered on MY pain and suffering.

When this song came out in 2010 I was starting to look out of my own little world.  Starting to pray for others and ask how they were doing.  Asking about that medical problem that’s worrying the family.  Their problems that I knew about.  I would start a prayer list and I would pray for them.  It’s too easy to say that you’ll keep them in prayer and then forget.

One thing that needs remedied in my own little world is shown in this video.  I don’t DO something.  Sometimes the only thing that you can do is pray but many times you can actually do something.

Listen to this song by Matthew West.  It reminds us that there is a larger world out there.

Do Something

This song captured me a few years ago.  Do Something by Matthew West has a message to all Christians.  We don’t need to just sit and say “Oh, those poor people…..”  It’s time to do something.

This video explains how the song came about.  He heard about this girl that went to Uganda and then stayed there and opened up an orphanage on her own.  She’s still there, she’s still doing something.

I hope this video opens up your heart.

God of All My Days

This song has been getting a lot of air play recently for good reason.  Casting Crowns has this song that points to piety or living your whole live toward Christ.  Just listen.  I’m sure it will touch your heart.