Posted in Arise, calling, Devotion, God, sin, strength

Rise Up – January 6th

I made a note in my notes on my iPhone when I heard this song on November 2nd.  It’s called “Rise Up (Lazarus)” by the group Cain.

In the dark and all alone, growing comfortable

Are you too scared to move and walk out of this tomb?

Buried underneath, the lies that you believed

Safe and sound, stuck in the ground

Too lost to be found

You’re just asleep and it’s time to leave

Come on and rise up, take a breath, you’re alive now

Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us

Out from the grave like Lazarus

You’re brand new, the power of death couldn’t hold you

Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us

Out from the grave like Lazarus

Rise up, rise up, rise up

Out from the grave like Lazarus

When He said your name, the thing that filled your veins

Was more than blood, it’s the kind of love that washes sin away

Now the door is open wide and the stones been rolled aside

The old is gone, the Light has come, so

Come on and rise up, take a breath, you’re alive now

Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us

Out from the grave like Lazarus

You’re brand new, the power of death couldn’t hold you

Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us

Out from the grave like Lazarus

Rise up (like Lazarus) rise up, rise up

Out from the grave like Lazarus

He’s calling us to walk out of the dark

He’s giving us new resurrected hearts, 

He’s calling us to walk out of the dark

He’s giving us new resurrected hearts,

Come on and rise up, take a breath, you’re alive now

Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us

Out from the grave like Lazarus

You’re brand new, the power of death couldn’t hold you

Can’t you hear the voice of Jesus calling us

Out from the grave like Lazarus

Rise up (He’s calling you out) rise up

Get me up from the grave like Lazarus

The lead singer, Logan explains the meaning behind the song:

“It’s this triumphant song about come on and rise up. My story is one of secret. As I felt myself feeling separated from God in cycles of destructive behavior & sin, the last thing I wanted to do was rise up. The last thing on earth that I wanted to do was to stand up and do what was right. When I feel defeated it’s easy for me to recluse, to become comfortable in that place but I know that the voice of Jesus is always gonna call me to rise up. If you hold onto that truth, that voice will get loud and it will eventually get louder than the voice that’s telling you to not rise up. There is no greater feeling of being alive than when you decide that I’m gonna take the power that’s given to me by the blood that was shed on the cross and I’m going to stand on top of this thing that has held me down. When you rise up anything that felt like life before that pales in comparison.” 

Scripture tells us that God is going to go with us when we rise up.

In Micah 7:8, “Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.”  When we fall, God will give us not only the strength to rise, but the Lord will be a light to me.

In Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”  The Lord is going to be our strength and shield, an ever present help in times of trouble.  Our response is to trust him and give thanks and praise.

In Ezra 10:4,Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” If those are not marching words, I don’t know what is.  Rise Up, Narcie and do the tasks I’ve laid out for you.  It has a tinge of buck up, buttercup.  “Be strong and do it.”  

We can offer all kinds of excuses and reasons and justifications to why we do some things and not do others, but when God places that sin on your heart or that calling on your life, we must act.  Do I need to recount the story of Jonah to you or for that matter the Israelites of the Old Testament?  God has the uncanny way of giving us a whisper, then a nudge, then signs a la Bruce Almighty, where God gave Bruce literal billboards and flashing road signs – God makes God’s presence known and we can run away as long as we want, God’s going to still love us and draw us toward God’s relational self – the extravagant, unconditional love and truly amazing and boundless grace.  

May God show where we need to rise up out of the sins that cling so tightly and may God give us the courage and fortitude to bring love, hope, peace, and joy to a hurting world and a radically divided country. May the Holy Spirit fall afresh on each of us as we rest in God’s mercy, love and grace.

Posted in Abide, Devotion, Ellie Holcomb

I know I need to…

I read this devotion this morning.

 http://www.incourage.me/2016/09/bumper-sticker-inspiration-barbara-higby.html  

I know I’m behind a couple of days but that’s what happens.  I know how I need to abide in the true vine and I know that I need that connection.  I KNOW that, deeply, uncategorically, but it’s still hard to fit that intentional time into a day where I don’t have enough time to do everything that I want to do or people expect me to accomplish.  When I think these thoughts, I immediately argue and answer in my own head because we all KNOW the answers, right?  We busy people that rebel against time because we want it to bend to our will.  Sometimes we need to go to a different setting, light a candle inviting the Holy Spirit into our hearts and lives, and blare the Christian music.  At least that’s what I do, when I’m exhausted or in a funk.  What do you do to restore and revive your soul?  How do you get out of a funk?  Watch a certain television show, watch a favorite movie, take a walk, go for a jog, whatever you do, make sure you don’t just aspire to be a whole, healthy person actually put things into place so you really have a healthy family-work-life-self balance.  It’s okay if you need reminders at times. We all do.  You don’t have to wait for New Year’s or Lent to begin making small changes in your life. You can start today.  Listen to the voice of God inside you.  You’re enough.  You don’t have to do it all.  You don’t have to be all things for all people.  The people that love you, really care about you, want you to take care of yourself – your mind, body, soul and spirit.  Christ doesn’t want you to live a half life, a shell of a life walking through your exhaustion, Jesus wants us to have abundant life.  Not a stretched too thin life, but a full and blooming life.  Will you join me on this journey to more intentionally practicing daily what renews and refreshes our souls?

John 15:1-17

15‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. 2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3You have already been cleansed*by the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. 9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12 ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant* does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

This song came onto my itunes shuffle when I was writing this blog.  It’s Ellie Holcomb’s “I Place My Hope.”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRWA_NEJpsc

The troubles of my heart they’re tearing me apart
How I need Your saving hand to grant me a new start
Lonely and afraid, I call upon Your name

Save me from my enemies and cover all my shame

I will lift my eyes from this fragile life
For you will rescue me, you are my prince of peace
And I lift up my soul to you who makes things whole
Oh, mercy love of old, in you I place my hope
I place my hope

So guide me in Your truth, be my strong refuge
Oh, forgive my doubting heart and lead me back to You
Help me to believe, Your love is all I need
Even when the storm is strong You will provide for me

I will lift my eyes from this fragile life
For you will rescue me, you are my prince of peace
And I lift up my soul to you who makes things whole
Oh, mercy love of old, in you I place my hope
I place my hope, I place my hope

Even in my darkest place, there’s a promise I will claim
Those whose hope is in Your grace, they will never be ashamed

I will lift my eyes from this fragile life
You will rescue me, you are my prince of peace
And I lift up my soul to you who makes things whole
Oh, mercy love of old, in you I place my hope
I place my hope, I place my hope
I place my hope, in you I place my hope

My bulletin board always gives me loads of inspiration.img_6288-1

Posted in Uncategorized

Epiphany – Connecting Back to the Source

ImageI had an epiphany last night.  And yes, I know that we are on the cusp of Advent not Epiphany.  But, in the midst of talking to my mom on the phone last night about some recent feedback from an evaluation and my overall tiredness lately, I began to realize some of the habits or rhythms that I’ve been unconsciously leaving out.

I’ve generally been really good about reading the Upper Room daily devotional that gets sent to my email box in the morning.  I’ve also generally been okay at reading other religious/devotional/pastoral/thought-provoking materials or at the very least reading along with several small groups at Wesley so that I’m getting fed spiritually.  It took me until last night to realize, oh yeah, you haven’t even signed up for the Upper Room on your new email address.  I’ve been at this new job for close to five months and I’m just now realizing that I completely blanked on signing up for my daily devotional to be sent to my new inbox.

That’s pretty telling.

And I honestly didn’t even realize it.  It didn’t cross my mind until last night.

As we start new jobs, new projects, new paths and as we enter into a season that often looks a lot more like Black Friday with the rush, bustle, mayhem, and angst than the arrival of our Savior into the world, may we remember, may we know, may we connect, may we take time to explore this Advent season anew and afresh.

May God open our eyes to some of our disconnect.  May we realize when we’re drawing from the Source or when we’re just running on fumes.  May we see and know and feel God’s rhythm in our bones as we go about our day to day resting in God’s love, strength, patience and wisdom and not our own will, arrogance, or seeming energy.

I am grateful for a God who loves me even when I’m spinning my wheels.  I am grateful for the Spirit who leads and guides and gives us the nudges and awakening when we need it.  I am grateful for the inspiration of Christ to show us how we are to live, bringing God’s kingdom to earth.  

Just a couple things that have been speaking to me this morning:

This morning’s Upper Room Devotional: http://devotional.upperroom.org/devotionals/2012-11-30 – Very appropriately asking “Am I walking in the Lord’s light, and am I projecting that light into the world?”

Three songs that have stood out this morning – Brandon Heath’s “You Are My King,” Group 1 Crew’s “His Kind of Love,” and TobyMac’s “Get Back Up.”