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Say What, Lord?

Have you ever wanted desperately to hear from the Lord but it seems you get nothing but silence? Or perhaps you’ve experienced the opposite – messages coming at you from every direction but you don’t know how to weed out the voices of the world from the call of the Lord?

Seeking a message from God is a desire that spans all eras, all races, and all religions, really! We all feel a longing to hear the voice of God. In fact, we were created to be in relationship with our Creator! He has designed us with a God-sized hole that only He can fill.

Hearing God’s voice is a challenge, even for the most devout followers of Christ. Now, maybe I should clarify that most often, we aren’t talking about hearing an actual, audible voice from God. God speaks to our hearts through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives our hearts impressions, through thoughts that pop into our minds that we know were not our own, and of course, through Scripture, our pastors, and other biblical teaching we receive.

Sometimes I think about how nice it must have been to live in the days of Abraham or Moses, when God visibly and audibly made His presence known! But even then, our Bible heroes still questioned God’s voice and failed to heed His call at times. When God gave Moses his call, Moses responded with far more “But, Lord!”s than “Yes Lord!”s.

“Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh…?”
(Exodus 3:11)

“Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
(Exodus 3:13)

“What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?”
(Exodus 4:1)

“O Lord,…I am slow of speech and tongue.”
(Exodus 4:10)

“O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”
(Exodus 4:13)

 

I think this reveals the true fact of the matter that, much of the time, (as much as I don’t want to admit it!), the challenge lies not in hearing God’s voice, but in obeying God’s voice.

I recently began an online Bible study through Proverbs 31 Ministries. During the school year I’m involved in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) and my husband and I also attend a weekly couples’ small group through our church. But while both Bible studies are taking a summer break, I wanted something to keep me accountable to being in God’s Word each day.

OBSBlogButton

I came across this online Bible study that is going through the book What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa Terkeurst.

What Happens When Women

The book happens to be from one of my favorite authors and a book I read and was really challenged by last summer. It is all about hearing God’s voice and pursuing obedience to His call at all costs! I have given the book to family members and saw the online Bible study as a great opportunity to encourage them to read it and give us a chance to study God’s Word together – even though we live hundreds of miles apart! It’s a great example of using technology for God’s glory!

This week we’ve been in the 2nd chapter of the book, “Hearing God’s Voice”, where Lysa TerKeurst shares what she called the Five Question Filter. She gives 5 key questions to ask ourselves as we seek to determine if the messages we are receiving are from God, or not.

5 Question Filter

The idea is to go through the questions, in order, one at a time, to help discern God’s will. As you can see, the first question requires us to be familiar with Scripture. If the message we are receiving contradicts Scripture, there is no need to go any further down the list of questions – God NEVER contradicts Himself, so He won’t ask you to do something that goes against His Word.

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”
(2 Timothy 2:13 ESV)

“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”
(Numbers 23:19 ESV)

 

Like the first question, the second question requires us to know God’s character. The more we dig into God’s Word, the more we will come to know Him and His character. We can then compare what we are hearing and reading in our quiet times with the messages we are hearing at church, or getting from other biblical teachers we respect. Once you’ve made it through questions 1-3, the last two kind of naturally follow. You’ll have to read What Happens When Women Say Yes to God to get the rest of the good stuff from Lysa!

If you are struggling, as I often do, to recognize, hear, or obey God’s voice, the best place to start is with the Bible! September is around the corner and Fall is a great time to get connected in a Bible study if you aren’t already. There are so many options!

• Get involved in a small group at church

• Start a Bible study in your neighborhood or with coworkers (you might be surprised who would be interested in participating!)

• Check out the online Bible studies offered through Proverbs 31 (What Happens When Women Say Yes to God continues through September 14th and it’s not too late to join…or take a look at the next study beginning on October 9th, A Confident Heart)

• Visit a Bible Study Fellowship class – with more than 1,000 classes in 38 countries, odds are there is one near you! This year’s study is the book of Matthew – a great place to begin!

Lysa always says you have to “get into God’s Word and let God’s Word get into you!” Being in Bible study with other believers gives us the accountability we need to move beyond just hearing God’s voice to applying His Word and obeying His call.

Are you ready to say, “Yes, Lord!”? I am!

Share your stories with us! Tell us about a time you heard God’s call. What was the result? Or maybe you are seeking to hear God’s voice regarding a current situation in your life. Let us know how we can pray for you and encourage you as you seek to follow His will.

 

If you’d like to read more on this topic, check out the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study Blog Hop that this post is a part of by clicking on the button below:

OBSBlogHop

By His Grace and for His Glory,molly

Filling Your Heart and Your Home with Worship – Part 3

As promised, I’m back with the last half of my list, Molly’s Top 10 Worship Recommendations. If you’ve missed Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, you can catch them HERE and HERE. To recap quickly, here are #1-5.

1. Input is related to output.

2. Get a free subscription to Pandora Internet Radio.

3. Find some worship artists that inspire you and make your heart sing.

4. Keep your worship music selections fresh.

5. Find worship songs that directly quote Scripture.

Now, on with the rest…

6. Get the kids excited about praise and worship music at a young age! I’m always looking for good praise music for kids. It’s especially important to find music that will grow with them. While they are little there isn’t much competition for their attention in the music world and we can pretty much control what they listen to. But as they get older and have more influences from friends, media, and what’s playing in the mall…it’s crucial to find music that will engage them with a Gospel message!

My kids are still pretty little (5 and 7), so they are still loving Jana Alayra, Go Fish Guys, and Psalty (I know I’m definitely dating myself with Psalty! Any other kids of the 80’s out there?? Yes, he is a little hokey, but he is still around and I love that my kids can enjoy the praise songs I grew up with!). I have to give a special plug to the Go Fish Guys, who may be a little less known. I stumbled upon this group as a freebie song at the end of parenting audio magazine CD. They are awesome! Their tagline is “Great music for kids that won’t drive parents bonkers!” – and its true!

7. If you play a musical instrument, learn some popular worship songs. Using your musical talents to God’s glory will bring joy to your heart, bless your home, and who knows…maybe even one day bless your church! Now, sadly, this one doesn’t apply to me – yet! I still have aspirations of learning to play piano at some point. However, Kevin is quite the musician and I’m so thankful we have his example and his talent for a little after-dinner worship time!

Kevin Guitar 2

8. Buy a hymnal and some good hymn CDs. I LOVE modern praise and worship, but there is still something about those timeless hymns. Even if you didn’t grow up with them, or don’t sing them regularly in your church, you will be blessed. The lyrics of the old hymns are rich with Gospel messages that speak just as clearly today. Did you know you can buy your own hymnal? They aren’t just for the pews at church! I have a little collection started.

hymnals

My mom gave me this one on the left when I was in elementary school and the one on the right came from the sweet little church I grew up in. About 5 years ago, sadly, the church had to close its doors and we all returned for one last church service. They told us to take a hymnal as a little memento. I love it! You can buy your own hymnal for super cheap! Here’s one that is just like my red hymnal available through Amazon Prime for just $9.95 – hardcover!

I thought I’d share the inscription my mom wrote inside the red hymnal:

inscription

My mom’s right! We often do remember the songs when we’ve forgotten the Scripture verses. I love that hymns help me remember.

I don’t have much of a singing voice, but we regularly sing hymns at bedtime with the kids. So I’m thankful to have a few great hymn CDs in my collection. Chris Rice’s “Peace Like a River: The Hymns Project”, Bart Millard’s “Hymned” and “Hymned Again” and Jadon Lavik’s “Roots Run Deep” CDs are among my top favorites!

9. Don’t be shy about playing worship music in the home when nonbelievers are present. Having some uplifting praise music playing in the background can be a great testimony to workers in the home, teen classmates, and neighbors. We’ve actually had some great conversations with people in our home who notice the music playing and ask about it. Be sensitive, however, if you are living in a home with unbelievers, like an unbelieving spouse or roommate. You don’t want to compromise your testimony by blasting them with Bible songs!

10. Fill your day with worship! This last one may seem obvious, but sometimes we just don’t think about it. Play worship music in the car, play worship music in the kitchen while you cook, put your phone with music playing next to the shower, blast it while you clean, play it quietly while you work…You will notice a difference in your heart and your home – guaranteed! 🙂

I believe some people have more of a natural heart for worship than others, just as some of us are more naturally wired to want to sit down and study Scripture. Both are vital to our Christian walk and growth and we would do well to learn from one another! I am more of a Bible study girl and Kevin is a worshiper through and through! I’m thankful God has paired us together to strengthen our weaker sides.

I’m constantly seeking to grow in both my understanding of worship and my ability to practically apply worship in my daily life. I’m sure you have some great tips, favorite worship artists or albums, and thoughts to share! Let us know what you do to keep your heart and home filled with worship, or tell us what new tips you’ve picked up from our blog today. We always welcome your thoughts!

By His Grace and for His Glory,molly

Filling Your Heart and Your Home with Worship – Part 2

Before I left for vacation I had shared my thoughts on worship as the ultimate cure to one of “those” days. You know the kind I mean? Nothing is going quite the way you planned and finding a bit of joy is about as easy to do as finding …If you missed that post, you can catch up HERE before joining us for Part 2 today.

We talked last time about how worship involves a lot more than just worship music. Worship is an attitude and posture of the heart that happens in our thoughts and our actions as we step back and observe the world God has put us in. Worship happens anytime we take on a high view of God and couple that with a low view of ourselves. When I think of a passage of scripture that captures the heart behind worship, I think of Psalm 8:

 O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouth of babies and infants,

you have established strength because of your foes,

to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

what is man that you are mindful of him,

and the son of man that you care for him?

 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings

and crowned him with glory and honor.

You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;

you have put all things under his feet,

all sheep and oxen,

and also the beasts of the field,

the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,

whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth! (ESV)

 

When we really consider the majesty of God as Creator, Sustainer, Defender, Healer, Savior…and how undeserving we are to receive His attention, let alone His love, mercy, and salvation…our hearts can’t help but worship Him!

So how do we make worship a natural response of the heart and a regular part of the home? I want to give you some practical tips and resources for doing just that!

Molly’s Top 10 Favorite Worship Recommendations…

**fine print: I received no goods or services in exchange for my endorsements here and am simply expressing my own opinions about what has worked well for me!**

1. Input is related to output. First of all, we have to recognize that worship is a matter of the will and we have to choose worship, by the power of the Holy Spirit over the multitude of media clamoring for our attention these days. Sometimes it is as simple as turning off the TV, closing the laptop, and tuning off the “Oldies but Goodies” 80’s station. I’m not denouncing all forms of secular input (I’ve already confessed my love of Downton Abbey and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve seen every episode of Friends more than a gazillion times!). I’m just saying that if you want to have a more worshipful output you have to be intentional about the input!

2. Get a free subscription to Pandora Internet Radio. (http://www.pandora.com/)

pandora

If you don’t already have one, you should! Pandora offers free, customized radio stations and it has truly transformed the way I worship through my day! You can listen to Pandora via your computer or smart phone. Once I got an iPhone, I began playing worship music and carrying my phone from room to room as I worked throughout the house. Pandora provided the background music as I jogged with my kids in the stroller, and (this might be a little strange), I even play Pandora through my phone in the car instead of listening to regular radio. Why listen to commercialized Christian radio that is made to appeal to a broad audience when I can listen to music tailored right to my tastes?? I can listen to the Chris Tomlin station, Third Day Station, or even Cedarmont Kids Station for good ol’ fashioned Sunday School tunes for the kids!

3. Find some worship artists that inspire you and make your heart sing. If you don’t already have a few, ask friends! A couple of my favorites are ones I just mentioned – Chris Tomlin and Third Day – along with Bebo Norman, Big Daddy Weave, Watermark, John Waller, and Jadon Lavik.

4. Keep your worship music selections fresh. We all have our old favorites but new tunes are motivating! To keep your music collection updated without having to spend a fortune on CDs or iTunes downloads, check out Rhapsody Online Music Subscription Service (http://www.rhapsody.com/freetrial2).

rhapsody

You can get a 14-day trial for free and then pay only $1 for your first 3 months of service. After that, it’s only $10/month for use on up to 3 devices. With Rhapsody, you have access to virtually any song out there! Unlike Pandora, you can search for songs by author, title, or listen to a whole album. As long as you are a member, you can even download any music you want! It’s incredible! Rhapsody also offers internet radio stations similar to Pandora if you like your music generated randomly or you can choose to create personalized playlists.

5. Find worship songs that directly quote Scripture. This will put God’s Word in your heart all day! I’m sure there are many good options for this, but my family’s new favorite is Seeds Family Worship (http://www.seedsfamilyworship.net/).

seeds family worship

I discovered them about a month ago when a friend gave us their “Seeds of Faith” album and the songs have really been ministering to all of us!

seeds of faith

I love that they have a wide variety of styles on each album. Their whole mission is to engage the whole family with worship and there is definitely something that appeals to all of us! Here is a direct link to their store. http://www.seedsmusicstore.com/ and they are also available on Amazon.

Steve Green

Steve Green’s “Hide ‘Em in Your Heart” albums (Volume 1, Volume 2, and Praise and Worship) have had years of play at our house. We have all three albums! Like the Seeds Family Worship albums, these also use lyrics that are straight from the pages of Scripture. However, I will admit they are much more dated and juvenile-sounding than the Seeds albums. Definitely more appealing to the younger kiddos but listen to them a few times and you’ll be memorizing Bible verses in no time! 🙂

I did say “Top 10″…but I’m going to leave you hanging! Check back tomorrow for my last 5 worship recommendations in “Filling Your Heart and Home with Worship – Part 3” – our final installment in this series.

In the meantime…I’d love to know which worship artist or worship album most makes your heart sing!

Back tomorrow!

Blessings in Christ,molly