Category Archives: Bible Journaling

Hello God…

Hello God

It’ a conversation that occurs multiple times a day. I often try to think back to pre-salvation (20 years ago) and wonder what was going on in my head, because so much of my day is spent in conversation with the Lord. I obviously talked to myself a lot, which would explain all the bad advice I got! But from 1996, the first time I really remember calling upon God, I’ve burnt up the lines to Heaven several times a day.

Psalm 116 reminded me this morning why:

1I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.

Because He hears

Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.

The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.

Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.

Because He saves

For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.

I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

10 I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:

11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.

12 What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?

13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.

14 I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

16 O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.

Because He is Worthy

17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.

18 I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.

19 In the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord.

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Then Sings my Soul

then sings my soulSinging ~ it seems to be where my focus of late has been and I have to be very careful, because the flesh can rise up within me, and the very gift that God gave me to glorify Him can become an instrument of distraction. It’s such an enjoyable experience in its own right but couple that with the praises of men and it’s suddenly missing the point. The point being that God gave us our voices to vocalize Him to a lost world. It’s not that I don’t think singers are worth their hire or that they shouldn’t be encouraged through complimentary remarks, because I think anyone who serves the Lord in any capacity is worth their hire and deserve encouragement. It speaks of that in the book of Nehemiah 13:10 when it was said “And I perceived that the portions of the Levite had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.”  The singers went home… that would be a sad day. But I don’t write of being worth my hire, I write of being worthy of my calling and that comes with an accountability factor for having been given the gift of song, or any gift we’re given (insert yours here, you’ve got one.)

David wrote in

Psalm 33: 1-5

Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.

Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.

He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Have Gift Will Travel

David obviously was a talented musician and people enjoyed him. When Saul was troubled in soul after being disobedient to God and losing the protection of his position as King, David was summoned to play music.

1 Samuel 16:23

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

David’s anointing in music brought peace to Saul’s troubled soul. And for me that’s what music is about and why so many people are drawn to it. But in the same manner that I’m drawn to perform and others are drawn to listen, the music should edify the soul and encourage the listener. I’m not one to sing “the blues.” And I don’t mean the genre, I speak of the mentality or spirit of being blue. If I’m singing I want it to take the listener to a place of comfort. That’s what gospel music does for me. Secular music is fine, and I like singing a silly song or two or a love song, but I want to leave the listener happy and I want my life to always point others to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. A dark song takes people to a dark place… and God’s not in the darkness.

Having a Gift takes Time

David said to play skillfully. Well, let me tell you… that takes time! As well as a tolerance of joint pain and calloused fingers. But if the musician/singer is going to be worth their hire, God expects an investment. And with the blessing of God upon me with opportunities to sing His praises I’ve been putting more and more time into song. But that’s not to take away from my gift of words which can happen so easily because the music is a finished product that springs immediate joy up in my soul. The words require creation… and study and must be formed from the ground up. But they have the same effect on the soul… encouragement. And they have the same accountability factor. Both are labor, but are labors of love.

Having a gift is Good

David wrote that the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. And one of His things of goodness is the gifts that He grants. Are you using yours for His glory? Are you using it to its fullest potential? That’s the questions that I ponder myself today…

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Stop Building Towers

babel

Have you ever wondered why life is full of confusion? Confusion abounds with constant decisions, constant noise and frustration ensues, at least in my world. Once upon a time there was simpler world and it seems to me that it was just yesterday. Growing up in the hills of West Virginia was a blessing. I know that there are a lot of folks who poke fun at hillbillies and can’t possibly understand why anyone would want to live in such an economically depressed area with little opportunity but it’s the place I call home.

Now back to my point on confusion and all this will hopefully come together to bless you and I both with  a little reasoning from God this sunny Saturday morning in the hills.

Why is decision making so hard and so frequent. It seems that I just get out of one decision and I’m onto the next. And we’re not talking about breakfast… which I haven’t even got around to today and that’s a pretty important decision. But I’m talking about decisions that can have life altering effects. Career, money, health, kids, and that’s just the beginning. The spiritual side of life is a whole other realm and more important than those mentioned before. So why is there confusion?

In the beginning is a good place to start. I’ve been journaling through Genesis this week and yesterday happed upon the tower of Babel in Chapter 11. Three things caught my eye about why God confounded the builders and why we have confusion today.

Genesis 11:1-8

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

  • Nobody asked God
  • They just started building.
  • And so life was scattered.

Sound familiar?

Prayer a priority? Sounds like such a foreign idea to most people. And while I pray over a candy bar (mostly asking God not to let the calories count), a major decision will occur and I’ll half heartedly ask God’s guidance, truthfully having made up my mind already. And then I wonder why I’m confused about life. If the tower builders had ask God His opinion He would have told them not to waste their time. But they didn’t. They wanted to see what they could accomplish for themselves and by themselves and for their glory. Nothing but bad can become of that combination.

I have to wonder what thoughts ran through their minds when they began to speak different languages. I’m sure it was somewhat like me talking with my grandsons Logan and Parker who are just beginning to form words and sentences. I’m pretty sure I know what they said, but answering yes could possible result in Izzie the Chihuahua taking a bath in the dishwasher.

God’s words are much clearer than the grandboys, but sometimes every bit as confusing. And I’m pretty sure I know why…

It’s called the flesh. I want to do and accomplish “stuff.” And if God doesn’t open an immediate door I call it confusion, rather than just sitting back and waiting to see if perhaps that door should remain closed. Maybe that tower didn’t need built, that song didn’t need written or sung and that venue didn’t need to happen.

My resent invitation to Minnesota to minister in music with my dear friend Dewey Moede happened much like that. I have a God box that my friend Sue Walker gave me at a retreat a few years ago. Inside that box are prayers that I know I have no control over. Meeting Dewey Moede is one. Another prayer on my heart is that God would open doors for me to sing. Voila! That’s my God. But a trip to Minnesota costs money… I have no money… I stopped working because God told me too. But a good friend of Dewey’s who became a good friend of mine listened to God and provided me the funds for transportation to Minnesota. That’s what happens when you wait on God.

That’s one of my success stories, I have far more failure tales. Stop building towers. Stay grounded in prayer.

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I hear His voice and I’m so glad!

shepherd in the storm

The past few weeks I’ve been off the grid as far as my blog posts are concerned because I was getting back in touch with the paper version of my Bible with a renewed excitement for the word of God and all because of a journaling bible, a pack of markers and a new box of colored pencils… Simple folks have simple ways, right?

I’m all about the digital version of the Bible! I love that I can read and search for scripture with the click of a button and within a second have the very word of God before my eyes. It’s amazing! But there was something about the paper version that I was missing. Nothing tops having the Holy Spirit in your heart, or having the word of God in your hand… Add to that markers and colored pencils and oh my stars! It’s like heaven came down. True story!

And so it was that I became an addict again to my Bible. Every spare second I could find I was reading the pages hoping to find an image rolling around in my mind to doodle on the pages of that precious book, bringing it even more to life and causing my mind to ponder…

David said it in Psalm 77 when he thought God had all but forgotten him… we get that way when we’re not reading and studying the word of God like we should. Listen to his words and see if they heaped conviction upon you as they did me:

10 And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. 11 I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. 12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. 13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

He essentially said, “This is my problem God. You are still awesome…”

I did this, I got away from the God, I allowed the world to come into my life and upset the balance. God didn’t move nor change. He’s still as awesome as He ever was. And so I began to remember the “right hand of the most High” who lead me to where I am today, and the many things that He has brought me through. As I doodled on the sides of those pages I meditated on the Words that caused the images to come into my mind… and God would bring me into the sanctuary of His presence. Who is so great a God as our God?

There is none so great as our God! The final verse in this chapter says that “Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”  And it was there that this image came into my mind of the sheep being lead through the storm… I am that sheep… and God will bring me through because “He is forever, come what may, absolutely awesome.”

Did David’s words speak to your heart about your time with God? David not only meditated and thought on God’s word but he said that he then talked of what God had done. And I realized again that this wonderful platform that God gave me is a powerful thing and is meant to encourage the believer to keep going, to draw the sinner to Christ and soothe the soul of the hurting. It’s my job to paint the pictures of the Holy Spirit with words and share those with people so that they too might be encouraged in the same manner I am as I write them.

God is awesome… I needed to tell you that today. Even in the storms of life He’s leading His sheep… I hear His voice… and I am so glad…

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