Singing Over Me

“The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

Written by the minor prophet Zephaniah who prophesied during the reign of King Josiah, the Old Testament book of Zephaniah largely deals with judgment and the second coming. In fact Zephaniah mentions the “day of the Lord” more than any other Old Testament book. But all the prophesy of woe and destruction for the ungodly in the last days isn’t the only theme present in this otherwise short book. Starting in chapter 3:8, Zephaniah turns to encourage the faithful and speaks of God’s restoration of His people. As believers in Christ who was sent to reconcile us, this is the best news we could possibly hope for.

When I was young, one of my most vivid memories was my mother singing lullabies to get me to calm down. I can recount many songs she used to sing, but my favorite was, “Hush, Little Baby.” Her soothing voice still echoes in my head. Even more recently, my wife and I would sing the same song to all all three of our children when they were fussy and it brought back many memories of my own childhood. There’s just something about the voice of a parent that seems to calm a child down.

Every time I read this verse, I’m reminded that God the Father sings over His redeemed in the same way that we parents sing to our own children! He sings His lullaby of mercy and peace, comfort, quiet, and most importantly His salvation and reconciliation.

Whenever we are afraid, God is in our midst.
When we need strength, God-the Mighty one will save.
When we are stressed out, God will quiet us with His love.
When we feel abandoned and unloved, God rejoices OVER us with His own lullaby.

I found this quote below to be immensely helpful in understanding the depth of God’s love for us. God loves His children more than anything else (even creation) and our only response is to obediently offer our sacrifice of praise to Him.

If God sings, shall not we sing? He did not sing when he made the world. No; he looked upon it, and simply said that it was good. The angels sang, the sons of God shouted for joy: creation was very wonderful to them, but it was not much to God, who could have made thousands of worlds by his mere will. Creation could not make him sing… When all was done, and the Lord saw what became of it in the salvation of his redeemed, then he rejoiced after a divine manner. (Spurgeon)

In closing here are a few questions to ponder:
What does His song sound like to you? Is it loud and authoritative? I’m sure it is; He is a Mighty Warrior and the One who literally spoke out of His mouth and creation of formed. However, more than likely, the Lord’s voice to us is that quiet lullaby that reminds us that he takes great delight in His people. He rejoices OVER us; He longs to commune WITH us. It baffles my mind, but I’m thankful for this assurance.

 

Wanting Memories

Seven years ago today, my mom passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Many of you have been there and you know the pain of never getting to say goodbye; it’s been a struggle.

I miss so many things about her that I could fill volumes recounting, but a few things stick out to me:

1. My mom was my biggest hero and encourager. She was the first person to recognize the God was shaping me for music ministry and she did all she could to encourage me to pursue it. Consequently, she was also the first person to recognize that Deanna was the one for me.


2. I miss our Friday phone conversations. Pretty much without fail, we talked and caught up. The Friday before she died, I was moving into our new home here and I almost didn’t take the call because we were moving. I’m so glad I did. It was the last time I spoke with her. I think about that conversation all the time and what I would’ve said to her if I knew it was the last time I’d talk with her on earth.

Over the last seven years, I’ve realized that my greatest comfort has been in rehearsing memories of my life with her in it. I think about them quite often. When my dad and three siblings get together we recount those memories.

A few years ago I ran across this song attached and the first time I heard it I literally was struck by the lyrics and I spent the afternoon weeping because it described how I had been feeling and hurting for so long. I haven’t really shared this song with many and its profound impact on my life until today, the seventh anniversary of her death. It has become my comfort when I’ve been angry and sad. It has reminded me that I am who I am in part because of her. Take a moment and read the lyrics below and listen to the song.

Psalm 30:11 reminds me that God “has turned my mourning into dancing!” I love you, mama and I look forward to seeing you again soon!

“Wanting Memories”

I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me,
To see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.
I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me,
To see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.

You used to rock me in the cradle of your arms,
You said you’d hold me till the pains of life were gone.
You said you’d comfort me in times like these and now I need you,
Now I need you, and you are gone.

I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me,
To see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.
Since you’ve gone and left me, there’s been so little beauty,
But I know I saw it clearly through your eyes.

Now the world outside is such a cold and bitter place,
Here inside I have few things that will console.
And when I try to hear your voice above the storms of life,
Then I remember all the things that I was told.

I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me,
To see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.
I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me,
To see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.

I think on the things that made me feel so wonderful when I was young.
I think on the things that made me laugh, made me dance, made me sing.
I think on the things that made me grow into a being full of pride.
I think on these things, for they are true.

I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me,
To see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.
I thought that you were gone, but now I know you’re with me,
You are the voice that whispers all I need to hear.
I know a please a thank you and a smile will take me far,
I know that I am you and you are me and we are one,
I know that who I am is numbered in each grain of sand,
I know that I’ve been blessed again, and over again.

I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me,
To see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.
I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me,
To see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.

Click here to listen to the song, “Wanting Memories.”

Light in the Darkness for the Confused

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119:105 (ESV)

“For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness…this God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:28, 30 (ESV)

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lordtrust in him, and he will act.

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
The steps of a man are established by the Lordwhen he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”
Psalm 37: 3-: 23-24 (ESV)

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14 (ESV).

We’ve all been through dark times. Some reading this are in dark times right now. You know the kind of dark times that aren’t quite depression, but you feel confused and lack clarity or direction. This confused state is often more stressful than periods of your life where you are certain of the cause due to extraneous factors. Maybe you’re grappling with a decision of epic proportions and the answer isn’t clear. Perhaps you want the answer to be one thing so badly that you try to reason with yourself an answer that God hasn’t given you.

One of the things I’ve been learning and re-learning is that while God is faithful, His answers to similar situations you’ve experienced before are not always the same. Let me explain what I mean by asking an age old question, one that is asked throughout the believer’s life: how do I discern the will of God for me in XYZ situation? Obviously there are truths here that will never change such as the faithfulness of God to answer you when you cry out this question. But, what might change is His response to you. Sometimes it’s change a course or direction for your life and sometimes it’s the continue on the path He’s chosen for you. These answers are not always written in the sky, but He does promise to “light the path of darkness.”

Here’s what I know:

  1. Our God is NOT a God of Confusion. It is in His very nature to be all knowing. He cannot be less than perfect. He cannot be less clear; it would dethrone Him from being God. When you are confused, you can be sure it is your flesh (your mind) and the work of the enemy to keep you from following the will of God for your life. If you are looking to make a change in your life, whatever that may be, do not make a change until you are sure the Lord is in it. His word promises that HE IS the LIGHT and He is the one LIGHTS the path that we should walk in.
  2. Our God Orders our Steps. Because he is omniscient He won’t allow those who follow close to Him to fall. When I have something that I’m praying through an worried about, I’m constantly thinking about every angle wondering if I’m following the Lord’s path. But what I need to do, is stay so close to the Lord and His word (His word is a light for our path) that I’ll never have to wonder which way to go. Don’t stray from the path until His lamp moves you to a new location.
  3. Our God is Faithful. Over and over again, the Bible speaks of His faithfulness.  For this we should give thanks over and over again. When I’m confused and discouraged, my natural inclination is to overthink my situation and that just brings more questions and stress. God reminds me to stop immediately and focus on his faithfulness. To give thanks in ALL circumstances. Stop blaming God for hiding His will and focus on who He is. Be patient and be still. Wait for the Lord. Remind yourself of what He’s done, what’s doing now, and how his faithfulness will endure forevermore.

 

 

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