FIRST

 

Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
Before I lift my cares
I will lift my arms
I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
And seek You

First


Lauren Daigle’s voice woke me up at 3:30 this morning singing these words from her song, First. How often do I go boldy before the throne of God with a laundry list of my needs and wants? Sometimes we use prayer like a drive-thru at McDonalds…  We give God our order and drive away with a bag of forgiveness and a side of grace riding shotgun and feel like we’ve done our prayer thing for the day! To quote the apostle Paul, “may it never be!” (Romans 3:4)

The way I see it, God doesn’t want my list anyway. He knows what I need already! What He desperately wants is my heart. Me. My self. My soul and spirit. My body and mind. ALL OF ME. In relationship with Him. See, that’s the beautiful thing about the heart of our God… He is never going to force us to come to Him. I can choose to follow my own path, doing my thing, and hoping everything works out. Or I can follow the One who created me, who knows how I work, the One who wrote the manual.

So this morning, even though my heart is heavy and full of burden for people I love and care about, I’m not starting there. I’m sitting here in my nightgown with my coffee and my hands lifted high, offering my heart to God. (In between sentences. ūüėČ) It’s His already, my heart, and I know that He will take good care of it. He can fix it when it breaks. He won’t ever lose it or misplace it. My heart is precious to Him. It’s in good hands. 

Click here to listen to Lauren Daigle’s First.


Because of Mercy

My spirit sings when I’m sleeping. Sometimes it wakes me very suddenly, as though someone turned on the radio. Other times, like this morning, it’s a very gentle awareness. “You are beautiful. You are beautiful. Oh God, there is no one more beautiful.” These are the first words I heard this morning. Big Daddy Weave’s song, Overwhelmed.

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

I feel like a little girl, twirling in a pretty dress before her Daddy, waiting for Him to tell her how beautiful she is and how special she is to Him. And when He does, she runs into His arms for a massive “Daddy” hug. That feeling of pure joy and love, safety and security, knowing that you are in the most special place on the planet… Your Fathers arms.

God, I run into Your arms, unashamed. Because of mercy, I can run boldly to your throne and lay my requests before you, knowing that I will find Your Grace to help me. Hebrews 4:16…

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Click here to listen to Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave.

Featured image: Little Girl Twirling Dress painting by artist Debra Hurd

When You Least Expect It

Sometimes, I don’t know why a particular song is in my head when I wake up. That’s okay, though, because God is always showing me something through the music. Today is different. Today, I know why my spirit is flooded with music about grace, specifically Matt Redman’s Your Grace Finds Me.

It’s there on the mountain top
There in the everyday and the mundane
There in the sorrow and the dancing
Your great grace
Oh, such grace

From the creation to the cross
There from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

Grace found me yesterday, when I least expected it. I was minding my own business, sweeping my front walk, tending my ferns, hanging pictures back on the wall since the painting is finished. I missed a phone call in all the busy-ness. Grace left me a voicemail. One of those last-thing-I-expected-today kinds of things. It flat-out put me prostrate on my living room rug, praising God for his goodness and mercy.

See, just a couple of hours earlier, I had been blogging about how God’s love is like a Waterfall… A wall between us and the world, cooling and refreshing when we stand behind it. But standing in the middle of the waterfall of God’s love will knock us down with his overwhelming, all-consuming grace and mercy. And then Grace SHOWED UP!!

Like a sponge left on the sink, dried and cracked, my thirsty heart soaked it up. God’s love filled all the holes and cracks. His mercy soaked into every pore and cell of my heart. His Grace drenched my parched and thirsty heart, swelling it to the size and shape He planned for it to be from the beginning. The “every day and the mundane” gets in the way sometimes, if we let it. The sorrow of our days. The interruptions in our lives. They can dry that heart-sponge out again. But Grace is there!

It’s there in a newborn cry
There in the light of every sunrise
There in the shadows of this life

It’s there on the wedding day
There in the weeping by the gravesite
There in the very breath we breathe

It’s the same for the rich and poor
The same for the saint and for the sinner
Enough for this whole wide world

I chose the featured image because it screams Grace to me. Beauty from ashes, flowers growing out of the stones, God cares for the smallest flower and he cares for me! Taken in Rabat, Morocco in October 2013.

Listen to Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redman

Read Your Grace Finds Me from my post in May this year.

I Give You My Heart

I woke up this morning with Michael W. Smith singing this wonderful prayer chorus in my head. Sleepy as I was, I was excited to write about this song when I got to my desk. But now that I’m here, I’m stuck. I’ve started several times and deleted. The simplicity of these words and this melody speak for themselves. In fact, they are so simple and beautiful that I’ve written them out as my prayer this morning…

“This is my desire, to honor You. Lord, with all my heart, I worship You. With all that is within me I give You praise, and all that I adore is in You. Lord, I give You my heart. I give You my soul. I live for You alone. Every breath that I take, every moment I’m awake, Lord, have Your way in me.”

If you don’t know this song, please listen to Michael perform it. I’d love to know your thoughts on this song. It’s an old one, and when I tried to get the stats I could find nothing about when it was recorded. But when I typed “I give you my heart Michael w smith” into the search engine, it returned OVER 108,000,000 results!!!

In my wildest dreams, I cannot imagine having that kind of impact for The Lord!!! Millions of people searching for God in the internet. And finding this beautiful, simple song. I hope they listen, and I hope they search for others and listen to those. I hope they find what they’re looking for… Because if we seek Him with all our heart, we WILL find Him.

And if we worship the Father in spirit and in truth, He will seek us! (John 4:23)

Where feet may fail

Oceans. That’s the official title of the song in my head this morning. Here’s a link to hear an acoustic version… I love this one!! Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

This is a United song (formerly Hillsong United) and one of my favorites. Here are some of the lyrics…

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

(Chorus)
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Oh man is this one so packed full of what I need!!! For months and months I have felt God calling me to something else. But I haven’t yet gotten a definition for “else” or any sense of what “else” is going to look like. So when I hear this song, I just have to lift it as a prayer that God will lead me to whatever “else” is waiting for me. That the Holy Spirit will lead me to the place where my trust has no border, no limit. That God would take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, so that my faith will be all I have to stand on.

Even as I write that, it scares me to think about my faith being all I have to stand on because I love security. Having money in the bank and the bills paid. Food on the table and clothes in my closet. Being able to take a vacation every year if we want. Just the knowledge that these things are there and available is important to me. So if my faith is all I’m standing on, what happens next?

Then this line in the song jumps out at me… “In the presence of my Savior.” My faith is made stronger in the presence of my Savior. Not in my own strength or by actively doing anything… Except trusting. Without borders.

So I guess my job is to call on the name of Jesus and keep my eyes above the waves when they get too high. I love the promise in this song… My soul will rest in His embrace because I am His. And He is mine.

Oh Glorious Day!!

It’s Saturday morning and my eyes pop open at 5:10 a.m. (I checked.) So here I am before 5:30 with a cup of coffee in my favorite room in the house getting this all down before I forget.

When my eyes opened this morning, the music was part of the way through this song, but I can’t capture exactly where (I hate that!). Casting Crowns “Oh Glorious Day” and the words to the refrain are…

Living, He loved me,
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day.

The first time I heard this song, I wept. You see, Easter is my favorite holiday, hands down, because we get to celebrate the risen Christ. I love how the darkness of the Lenten season becomes bright and sweet on Easter morning. I get excited about the music of Easter… I always have.

This song starts so beautifully serene and quiet, but builds to this fabulous chorus. ¬†Casting Crowns did such a terrific job of making the music match the lyrics. I always want to get up out of my chair and conduct this one! ¬†So when I came awake this morning smack in the middle of this song, I had no choice!! ¬†It feels like The Lord woke me up this morning… A heavenly wake up call! ¬†Like the Holy Spirit was saying “time to get up… We have an appointment, remember?”

So, here I am, in the perfect quiet of early morning… Not a sound anywhere except this song in my head. ¬†And the best part is that I know it will be with me all day… Reminding me there will be a day when Jesus comes back, with no more pain, no more tears, no more sorrow or grief.

“One day the grave could conceal him no longer. ¬†One day the stone rolled away from the door. ¬†Then he arose, over death he had conquered. ¬†Now he’s ascended, my Lord evermore. ¬†Death could not hold him… The grave could not keep him from rising again.”

I don’t know if my spirit was singing this song because I’m looking toward Easter, or because I’m so glad there will be a day that is so glorious… I’m just so thankful it sings!!

listen to this song on YouTube