Blessings by Laura Story

Take a few minutes to listen to this beautiful song. The lyrics are incredible (and you can read them below the video). I hope this touches your heart as much as it has touched mine.

  We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home,
It's not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

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RE:FOCUS - Clear the Mechanism

This is a re-post from November 2010. I'm going to try to start this series again... and actually keep going with it this time! :)
In just a few weeks, I am turning 37.  Don’t ask me why this one is hitting me so hard… it’s not like this is a milestone birthday or anything.  Maybe it’s because this pregnancy is quite a bit tougher physically than the first 2 were.  Just reminds me that life is moving fast beneath me.  So, the time has come for ME to refocus on what is important in life.  To make some changes and to stop focusing on the temporary.  Out of that brainstorm comes RE:FOCUS, a time on Mondays to really stop and think about where your heart and mind should be spending most of its energy... And THIS is the FIRST post, the FIRST Monday.  Each Monday you will find some kind of writing here which will hopefully encourage you to draw your focus back to the main thing.

Focus is a hard concept to master.  Sitting here at Panera with my “cappuccino in a mug”… don’t ask me why it tastes better to me just because I get them to put my drink in that special fat, round mug.  Maybe it reminds me of when I worked at the Master’s Loft (good memories).  Maybe it’s the same reason as why Coke just tastes better when you drink it from one of those little 10-ounce glass bottles… See how easy it is to lose focus (especially for me and my ADD self)?  I was just starting a thought, and then my brain rambled on to why I like my cappuccino in a mug.  Anyway...

One of my favorite expressions is “clear the mechanism.”  I love baseball and I love movies, so when the two of them meet, it is pretty incredible!  In For Love of the Game, Kevin Costner is a pitcher who has the ability and discipline to get to a place where everything around him is completely blocked out.  Anytime the voices, people, criticism, noise, or even OUTSIDE thoughts get in the way, he reminds himself to “clear the mechanism.”  In this movie, you even see visually how he truly gets to a place of complete tunnel vision.

In our lives, there are so many distractions.  Our jobs can be difficult and stressful.  Relationships with co-workers, friends, neighbors, family, etc. can be hard.  Even “good” things in our lives can distract us from the true main thing… Our spouses & kids can distract us.  Housework can distract us.  “Church” can even distract us.  TV, facebook, internet, sports, music…. Must I go on?  Anything tangible in our lives can take the place of the One who should be our true focus.  Anything can become an idol.

My challenge to you and to me this week is to “clear the mechanism.”  Really take time every day to spend with God.  Not out of habit… or guilt… or as a chore.  Spend some real time developing the relationship between you and your Creator.  God is so good and He wants a relationship with us.  Not a relationship that is built from “what we have been taught all of our lives,” but a real, growing, thriving relationship with 2-way communication.  And remember, you don’t have to do all of the talking.  In your human relationships, if you do all of the talking, do you ever really get to know the other person?  Get to know Him.  Let Him talk to you.  And when those distractions come…. clear the mechanism.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. – Colossians 3:2-3

Next Monday… Philippians 4:8, part 1

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Radical by David Platt - A Review

There are very few books that I can say have truly changed my life. Radical by David Platt is one of them. As I read through the pages, my toes were continuously stepped on, as Platt encouraged me to chase God instead of chasing “the American Dream.” I’m not saying this is true for all churches, but in our culture in general, church has become more about OUR preferences and OUR comforts rather than what God is calling us to do… which is actually to get OUT of our comfort zones and share the gospel. Platt challenges us by saying that we have “missed what is radical about our faith and replaced it with what is comfortable.” OUCH! Instead of being about comfort, our Christianity should be about abandoning ourselves.

To sum up the book, one statement that Platt makes is the following: “While the goal of the American Dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God.” If we are really sold out to Christ, this should be our main goal in life… to make much of Him and to bring glory to Him. We should not be “selling out” to what the world wants us to do or what makes us “happy.” 

Radical becomes more intense and convicting with each chapter. Platt concludes with a challenge called “The Radical Experiment,” where he encourages us to dedicate one year to doing the following:
  1. Pray for the entire world;
  2. Read through the entire Word;
  3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose;
  4. Spend your time in another context;
  5. Commit your life to a multiplying community.

    To find out more about these challenges, read the book! This is truly a must-read for every person who claims Christ as Savior. It WILL change your life… and be prepared, because a lot of Platt’s statements and challenges will not be “easy” or “comfortable.”

      I am thankful that I was able to receive a free copy of David Platt’s book, Radical, from Waterbrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program. 

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