Saturated

Sometimes too much is too much.

It is easy now, especially now, to be surrounded by opinions and conflict and impending doom. I have to be careful what I intake lest I am saturated with all the dread and stress of the world. Sometimes it is exhausting trying to discern what is accurate.

It feels like the unending spring rains of Evansville, Indiana. At least it feels like they can be unending. Our first year here I bought everyone a pair of rain boots because it seemed like it was always raining.

Always raining….

The ground was often squishy. There were always puddles to navigate on the sidewalks and in parking lots. There were often flooded streets because the rain came so hard and fast the sewer system could not keep up.

Saturated.

Today, I am thankful for the sunshine. I love the sunshine-y days; the ones when I need to pull out my sunglasses to navigate the bright world. I am thankful that God’s Word cuts through the darkness and gives me light. Meditating on a passage of God’s Word can be a great way to have an inflow of Truth and Light!

What is one of your favorite verses? I find new favorites all the time. I am thankful God sent His Word to me and it is always relevant and always just what I need!

Under Pressure

Pressure can create some beautiful things. And it can also cause quite a bit of stress.

Here we are, most of the world anyway, on a bit of a lockdown. We are banding together to protect the vulnerable and to provide some sort of pre-emptive relief on the medical facilities all around the world.

We have seen some beautiful moments and heard some heart wrenching accounts. And we have experienced them around our own tables as well: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We are all under pressure in one way or another. As we struggle with bills, meals, focus, patience, health concerns, and a little extra stress, I pray for God’s grace to carry us all through.

Have you found some new ways to cope with stress? It is always good to have a few “go to” stress relievers:

a brisk walk in the neighborhood
speaking a Psalm aloud
taking a nap
singing along with a favorite, uplifting song
chatting with a friend

What other suggestions do you have?

May God grant you His peace during this time of unknowns. He sees you and knows your needs. He loves you and will provide for you in ways you may not see yet. Ask Him to open your eyes to see His work and provision!

The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace
. Psalm 29:11

Create in me…

How are you doing these days? I am a bit weary.

I can tell because I am getting really annoyed with people, particularly if they are online and being really snarky.

And it is a perfect time for me to ask God to create in me a new heart….Of course, this can be a daily prayer. And, in these days, it can be an honest, hourly request.

I love the simplicity of this version of this song as well as the harmony. I hope you enjoy it!

John Michael Talbot — Create in Me

Let’s pray for those who have been laid off. I am sure they are stressed. This is a time where there are so many unknowns. I am thankful that God knows and sees. May the world see Him as we tend to the needs of others!

At the Cross

I don’t know where this pandemic finds you, but we are in a time of quiet. I know everyone isn’t in that space. My schedule has changed dramatically. I was supposed to be in Hungary for three weeks, starting April 1st, and my schedule was supposed to be pretty hectic leading up to that time.

So, here I am. Here most of us are. And, as I watch spring unfolding around me, I am thankful that God is always tweaking my perspective. He knows what I need and sometimes He makes us lie down in green pastures.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.
Psalm 23

Below is such an amazing song. I just love it! I hope it becomes a new favorite for you too!

At the Cross

Today, let’s pray for those who have wildly new routines that cause an incredible amount of stress in their lives. I am thinking of those families who have children with differing abilities that take extra care and planning and adjustments. My nephew has autism and he is just now adjusting to this major change in his schedule and life. ~ Liz

Together

One of the beautiful things that I am focusing on during these days are the ways people are working together and caring for one another. I mean, really, who would have ever thought that world leaders would be looking at one another for encouragement and strategies and solutions.

States, communities, neighborhoods — they are all looking out for one another. We each may have different rolls to play — some are larger than others — but we can each provide a helping hand, encouragement, some resources, a prayer —

Reach out to those you know and love. Check in with them. Start new traditions. Write letters. Share simple recipes. Share potential solutions to challenges people are experiencing.

For many years I was in choirs and bands and loved the way each part had a role — no one part sounded right without the others. And when everyone knew and sang their part, it was magical to me. I loved those days of harmony and being a part of something bigger than myself.

Last year, I spent a weekend at a retreat with Michael Card as the facilitator. It was a great weekend and I was reminded about his music. I know, another guy with a guitar — what can I say? Anyway, here is one of his songs and I hope you dig around and look for others!

Chorus of Faith

If you have you heard a great story of compassion during this time I would love to know about it!

Let’s pray for all the researchers who are working hard to find solutions to this crazy virus. I firmly believe their work is important for today but it may also address more issues that are bound to come up in the future. ~ Liz

Come

My music choices were very diverse when I was 13-16 and still are. I was influenced by my brothers, Top 40, choir music, band music, Casey Kasem, as well as a number of other people. But I am always drawn to guy singers and I love acoustic guitar.

I don’t remember who introduced me to John Michael Talbot but here he is and I would encourage you to explore his music. It is very meditative and simple. It is awesome for times of personal worship.

Come to the Quiet

I don’t know about you and your situation as we deal with all the complications this virus brings. But this time does beckon me to sit at the feet of Jesus and think and pray for a few things.

Let’s pray for the grocery store workers and the truckers and the warehouse people who are working hard to keep store shelves stocked. Here they are, on the front lines of this epidemic. Because we are all so much more dependent on everyone else for our food, they are our lifeline to nutrients. When you see them, say “thank you” or “we appreciate you”. They are putting their lives on the line every day.

Egypt

I don’t know who first introduced me to Keith Green, but I was pretty young, probably about 14 years old or so, when I first heard his music. It was the first time I really realized that God can use your personality and creativity for fun and music — it wasn’t all organs, stained glass windows, and liturgy.

And that was when I realized that God could use me as me. Of course, He has grown and shaped me in and through my life and experiences and He continues to do that for me. But the me who is me — my interests and personality and abilities — are a part of what He can use to reach others with His love, forgiveness, and grace.

In this time of restricted activities, I am thankful the opportunity to pray and fill my mind with good things is permitted! Have you been missing opportunities for Bible Study? There are some amazing options out there! And churches are working on offering sermons and Bible studies. And, believe it or not, we might miss church and gathering together but God’s Word is still the base of what we need. When it comes right down to it, the gathering is nice but The Word is what is essential! Find ways to surround yourself with God’s Word and use this time to dig deeper and discover more about His love and grace — how it applies to you and how it can be shared with others!

There are a lot of great, thoughtful, and meditative songs by Keith so be sure to check his stuff out on YouTube, but, three super fun but deep songs are linked here — LISTEN TO THE WORDS!

So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt

He’ll Take Care of the Rest

No One Believes in Me Anymore (Satan’s Boast)

Has God blessed you through a certain musician on musical group? I would love to know one of your favorite songs performed by your favorite artist!

Today, let’s pray for those who are bringing God’s Word in new ways to those who are desperate for some Good News! Hopefully, you are one of those people! ~ Liz