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Good Morning, Grace

So, it really happened. The very thing I tried to avoid happening did indeed happen on the platform of our church in the Sunday morning service. Let me explain. My husband and I were going to be singing a special in the service with our Minister of Music and his wife. I was really excited about this. We had been planning it for some time and it was our first time to be singing as a quartet. We had practiced and were ready to go. The song was placed in the order of service after the 2nd song sung with the praise team and congregation. For the first two songs I was singing in the choir loft in my normal spot. I would have to make my way down around the corner of the band in an opening to the platform. I motioned to our guitar player and asked him to move the music stand over so I would have room to slip through the opening easily when it was time to sing. All was well till I was about to round the corner and my foot caught on the music stand. It made a loud noise and I did catch it from falling over. Good Morning, Grace!

I did something this time that years earlier I would not have been able to do. I took a deep breath, smiled and let it go. Can I tell you straight up that this is not because of a work of Amy. This is the evidence that Jesus has been doing something in me. It is all Him, not me. Over the past few years, God has been teaching me that there are times when you have to let things go. Before I probably would have not have been able to concentrate on singing my part because I was so embarrassed about tripping. I would have fretted and wondered if everyone was thinking, “Wow, what a klutz?” or “We had a beautiful flow of worship going and you messed it up.” Psalm 126:2 reads,  “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.”  Now I realize that this verse is in the middle of a praise song that is sung in the Old Testament how God had released Israel from captivity. It is a song of degrees that they sang over and over each round with more intensity than the time before. However, I could relate to this verse on reflection this morning. The Lord has taught me it’s okay to laugh at yourself, to sing on, and let the small stuff go! This has not been an easy lesson to learn, but I am grateful that the Lord loves us where we are in our walk and helps us along with patience and wonderful grace. Remember, You also may be an encouragement to someone who has been struggling to not sweat things that need to be released. So with His help I will laugh and sing it loud, “Let it go, Let it go, Let it go!”

This Hope

While attending the Georgia Baptist Convention this week, I was inspired and encouraged by the wonderful music and outstanding preaching. God was truly among us in a mighty way. One of the music groups, This Hope, spoke to my heart. I wanted to share them with you today. This video is entitled “Break My Plans”. It tells of a song writer in Romania who was put into prison for writing Christian hymns. I pray it will touch your heart as it did mine and give us all a renewed passion to serve God even when the cost is great. May you have a blessed weekend and may God uplift and strengthen you in your service to Him.

Where Is Your Focus?

I experienced the most wonderful opportunity this last Friday evening. A sister church in our area, Pine Level Baptist Church in Cairo, GA,  had a “Ladies Night Out”. They served to us a beautiful dinner and the Program presented was such a wonderful blessing to me. Two of the Pine Level Ladies presented dramatic monologues and the Ladies Ensemble from the First Baptist Church in Bainbridge, GA ministered in song.  Donna Lott and Patti Appling presented the “Painted Parable”. This is a truly unique ministry. While Donna delivers a wonderful message/parable, Patti paints a picture to illustrate the message. The spirit of the Lord is on these ladies. They live in North GA above Atlanta. The evening was full of blessing after blessing.

My heart was especially stirred when Donna shared a particular problem in her life and how God lead her to a book by Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth Bell Graham. Mrs. Graham when faced with adversity ran to God and her Bible. God showed Mrs. Graham that she was focusing on the problem she was facing and the adversity rather than focusing on the promises of God. I felt in good company because over the last few weeks, I have been struggling with a problem of my own and all I could see was the problem.  I failed to focus on the promises of God’s Word. How often do we all continue to struggle with something when the answer is right in front of us? (more than I would care to admit, thank you 🙂 )  In the midst of my struggle God showed me the answer I needed. He said, “Run to the word, my child, run to the word!!! Focus on my promises not on the problem!!!”   Peace flooded my soul. Believe it or not, but my problem in all of this was not really the problem. IT WAS MY FOCUS.  God showed me that peace is available in Him when I focus on His promises and not the problems of this life. Who would have thought you can have peace and a problem at the same time.  We all have problems that we face every day. The problems can clutter our mind and drag us low if we let it. By focusing on the promises we can experience the presence of God right beside us, holding our hand and whispering His sweet promises in our ear.

 “And being fully persuaded, that what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”  ~Romans 4:21

Second Fiddle

Leonard Bernstein was once asked which instrument was the most difficult to play. He thought for a moment and said, “The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play second fiddle with enthusiasm–that’s a problem.  If we have no one to play second fiddle, we have no harmony.”

We have a wonderful opportunity to be the harmony in this life we have been given. In the “Me First” society we live in today, we can be the one who sets the tone in our homes, our churches and in our places of employment.  When you put someone else ahead of your own desires and feelings, other people will notice and some may even ask “why”. You will then have the opportunity to tell them the difference that Christ has made in your life.

Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the world is watching you. They notice how you handle yourself in situations and how you react to adversity. They will also notice when you put someone else’s needs before your own.

Jesus continually through his public ministry put others needs first.  He ate with publicans and sinners because he knew they had questions he could answer.  He washed the disciples feet to show to them and us what being a servant really means. When Jesus was on the hillside teaching, He was sensitive to the needs of the people who were hungry and preformed a miracle feeding 5,000 plus.  He is a beautiful example of humility and sacrifice.

We need to willingly follow the example he set before us. If it was that important to the Lord, we can be assured that he would want us to live that way too. Living a life of service produces beautiful music that will touch the heart of God. 

Let’s play the harmony with the notes of our life.

Just Give It Away…

This morning, as I was flipping through the radio channels, I came across  the phrase of a song so I stopped and listened for a moment as the crooner lamented his lost love and how said love told him since things didn’t work out between them to give all the things they shared away ’cause she didn’t want them any more. “Just give it away” was her refrain. The motivation behind her giving was a tad different response than the dear lady I told you about in my last post.

Does our motivation behind what we do really matter in the grand scheme of things? I would give you a resounding, “YES”.  Why we do what we do does matter.

It matters to our Savior! He commanded the Children of Israel to offer their gifts willingly to him. (Exodus 25:2) We need to look on our giving to Lord and to others not as a duty or an obligation, but as act of compassion and love sharing what God has so graciously shared with us. In 1 Chronicles 29:9 reads, “Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with a perfect heart they offered willingly…” Wow.  People rejoicing in their giving would probably stir the heart of God again just as it was stirred in the Bible times. For it says in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Every man according as he has purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”  If you want to make the heart of God glad, give something away cheerfully.

It should also matter to us! Deuteronomy 16:17 reads, “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.”  Do we need to give everything we own away?  No, I think the scripture is saying that we need to give something away when the Lord prompts us to do so.  Some have such a tight hold on their possessions that God would have to use a crowbar to open their fist. I don’t think he wants us to live holding on so tight that we are hesitant when he speaks to us to give. He wants us to live with a loose hold on our possessions.

I don’t want to be the one who only gives away what I can’t possibly use anymore,  or what I don’t like anymore. It never ceases to amaze me what some people give in the name of Jesus.   For example, I heard a preacher say one time a lady called him and said, “Preacher, I know you need some new furniture for the church office and I just bought a brand new couch because mine was falling apart. I thought I would take it to the dump, but if the church could use it I would be glad to donate it.”  Yikes!!!

God has blessed me and you with so much, and not with just material possessions.  I want the motivation behind what I give to be one of love for my Lord. I want to give my best to him. I want to give my spiritual best, my emotional best,  and especially my physical best.

Let’s all hold our possession loosely, so when he calls upon us to give the best…

Just Give It Away!

Concert Review

What a wonderful blessing I received on Saturday Night. Our family had the opportunity to go to Tallahassee to the Lighthouse Children’s Home and attend a gospel concert. Almost 30 years ago, God put it in the heart of Bro. Billy Hudson to help girls ages 13 through 17. He has taken in those whose lives were broken and provided a place of healing and love for them. He introduced them to Jesus.  The girls sang, gave testimonies and praised God.

The concert groups included the Crist Family, the Mark Trammell Trio, and Gold City. All of these did a tremendous job and my heart was full. For a full review, my husband, Gordon, at heavenly heartburn has posted an article on how God blessed us and he includes links to the groups. I hope you will check it out.

For all my friends who visit, I plan on posting later today.