Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Will Bring Praise

I've recently had a song on my heart. It's Desert Song by Hillsong. Perhaps you've heard it. If not, I strongly recommend giving it a listen. The lyrics are powerful, yet simple.

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is a God who provides.

And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame.

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here.

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand.

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here.

All of my life, in every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship.

I will bring praise, I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice, I will declare
God is my victory and He is here.

And this is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow.

When I think about the lyrics to this song, I am both challenged and encouraged. I don't know about you, but praising God in the crummy times of life is never easy for me. When it seems like nothing goes right (or at least the way I want it to), my first instinct is to lick my wounds or feel sorry for myself. However, this song challenges me to praise God no matter what the situation is like, whether in the desert, fire, battle, or harvest. Notice that it mentions only one "happy" or comfortable situation...and that's at the end. As Christians, we are going to endure trials and suffering. We are going to be put into uncomfortable situations, and those experiences are for a greater purpose that we might never understand. But no matter what experience God brings us through, He is there with us the whole time and deserves our praise.

I love the part of the song where it says "God is my victory and He is here." HERE, as in, He is present. How awesome and encouraging it is to know that my Lord, my creator, is here with me. He isn't some distant being that pushes me around like a figurine in the game of LIFE and watches to see what happens. He knows my trials and pain just as He knows my hopes and dreams. He knows these things because he is not just watching; He is here, He is present.

I hope the words of this song challenge and encourage your heart as they have mine.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Different Kind of Makeover

Happy New Year! In light of celebrating the change from 2010 to 2011, I have given my blog a bit of a face-lift. The change in year seemed like an appropriate time for tweaking, which brings me to my thought for the day: Makeovers.

Makeovers are popular. People (usually women) get bored with how they look or want to freshen-up their look. This is especially popular after the New Year. In fact, I don't think I can remember a time when I went back to school or work after the holidays and didn't see visible changes that people had made. These changes were usually in the realm of hair length or color. Are makeovers a problem? Of course not! I quite enjoy makeup, and I happen to have two boxes of semi-permanent haircolor in my closet...

However, since it is the time of New Years resolutions, I can't help but think about how much focus we put on our image. Diet and exercise plans typically top the list of most popular New Years resolutions (which, let's face it, are usually short-lived) and you can find countless articles on ways to spruce up your look--be it with clothes, makeup, hairstyles, jewelry, etc. Now, maybe you don't put a lot of thought or effort into your appearance. Maybe you don't wear any sort of makeup, take much time to fix your hair, and have never made any diet or exercise goals. Good for you. I admire you...as I am a member of the majority of people who put too much thought and effort into their appearance.

Therefore, my goal (or resolution, if you will) for 2011 is to put LESS focus on my outsides, and MORE focus on my insides. No, I'm not talking about taking vitamins or trying to eat more heart-healthy foods. When I say my insides, I mean my mind and my heart. I want to focus on clearing out all the junk that has taken up residence in these parts so that they might better reflect Christ. In place of all that junk, I want to fill my mind and heart with content that is holy and pleasing to God. Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."

This is my new goal. Does it mean I should throw out my makeup? No, but it means that I will be spending less time in the mirror and more time in the Word.