Power in Hope

It has been a struggle to decide about what to write about today. In my personal time I have been reading through Psalms in the Message Translation. I wrote about the inward reflection that David took earlier this week (Psalms 42). Last night in youth, one of my leaders led a discussion on Psalms. I had to admit to them, that David is probably someone I would struggle to look up to in leadership, or even to be around. I enjoy him when He is leading them into battle, when he is leading them into worship and when he is talking about all the great things of God. Then he gets to this lamenting, not just complaining and whining, but deep down in the dumps kind of talk.

Psalms 13:1-2 (MSG) Long enough, God— you’ve ignored me long enough. I’ve looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough I’ve carried this ton of trouble, lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies have looked down their noses at me.

Then I remember, God said that this was a man after His own heart. In this I am reminded that I have to have some of these kinds of people in my life. There are going to be leaders in my life that I have to honor even if I do not like their personality. Then it made me think, how do I come off on others? Most of the time I am quiet because I feel like I can come off harsh. I was told in one work place (a Christian nonprofit) that I did not speak in love and that they did not receive me as a person that lived 1 Corinthians 13. This hurt me deeply because I try to live Philippians 4:8 (AMP), “Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” I try to live this towards God’s creation. I sometimes have to realign my thinking to this, but that is truly my goal. I asked them about this verse and they quickly informed me that they could not apply that to me. Ouch! So I rub people the wrong way sometimes too. Paul did, Peter did, even Hannah did with Eli the prophet. My heart is for other’s to feel that love of Christ to come through me, this truly is what I want to be rooted in.

There are going to be leaders in my life that I have to honor even if I do not like their personality.

I do understand that this is probably not who David was to everyone. Only those closest to him saw this side of him. What we are reading are his words pouring out to God. Why does God want us to see this? It’s okay that we are not okay sometimes. We need to cry out in our deep grief and anger. He knows our heart anyways!

I told the group last night that David reminded me of He-Man from the cartoon series in the 1980s. In his writings, David, does seem like he has two very distinct personalities. Prince Adam had all the feelings, he cooked, he goofed off and seemed not all that together. He wore a pink vest and purple leggings! Then when he got the “power” he transformed into this warrior.

The power I think is when David remembers his position, that God is for him and not against him. The “power” for David is always underlying there because even in the lament of Psalms 13 we see verse 15-16 (MSG), “I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—I’m celebrating your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.” David was never without hope. There is power in hope. It was the root of who David really was. May we never let go of hope.

Hope is one of the ingredients Paul talks about at the end of 1 Corinthians 13, verse 13 (TPT), “Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.” I did not forget about love. It is the most important, I know. I am running for that beautiful prize (I may not be athletic, but I am competitive).

If you need prayer please message me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

Inward Reflection

Psalms 42:6 (NASB) Why are you in despair my soul? And why are you restless within me? Wait for God, for I will again praise Him. For the help of His presence, my God.

I like how David talks here, that he is going inward as to why his soul is in despair. An inward reflection is the stance he decided at this moment. Right now we are preparing to teach a series in our youth on how our emotions and memories are often tied together. They can, if we allow them to, define who we are. David had very high highs and some very low lows in his writings, but God still refers to him as a man after His heart. David was full of emotions, sometimes in his writing you can tell he was led by them. He had to make a conscious decision to allow God to lead in the midst of his brokenness. There are times you can see great strength coming out at the admittance of his weakness.

There are times that we try to come out of the despair by ourselves. We will go and tell those around us who will listen so that we can get a sympathetic hear. We try to numb it with watching videos. Some use substance to take away the pain. Even in our frustrations and in our pain, the one we can run to is our Father. Especially when you are angry, tell Him, He knows your heart anyways.

Ephesians 5:2 (TPT) And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration – a sweet healing fragrance.

When I think of healing I do not always think of a physical need for healing. Some of our wounds are not able to be seen. Mostly I think of emotional healing. I do not like the way I react sometimes. In order to get to the root of that wound, I find that surrendering to the extravagant love of Christ, the one that we are told is there, I have to allow it to surround me. We can receive Christ as our Savior and not really receive this love. Some of us think that we are not lovable. We thank Him for saving us from hell, without realizing all that He wanted to restore within us. I walked this way for years. I truly realized what freedom felt like when I, that I do not have to be surrendered to my wounds, that I can receive a healing deeper than my physical needs.

I want to tell you that it is okay, not to feel okay sometimes. Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have a great need for Christ. I have a great Christ for my need.” He will not just take away the pain though, He wants to bring you through it. There is growth in that process. There is an understanding that happens so that we can love others when they are going through things. I have learned that in my hurt, I have hurt others. I have kept people at a distance so that I would not get hurt again. When I get to the root of my hurt, I can start to heal.

“I have a great need for Christ. I have a great Christ for my need.”

Charles Spurgeon

I was talking with the other youth leaders and told them that one of the reasons that I seemed so stand offish, not approachable, in my early years of leadership, was because I felt like I had to be perfect growing up. In turn, I would often snap real easily at people if I felt like they were lazy or messy. I was the oldest of three (ages five and three, my sisters are twins) to a single mother. My mother was nearly twenty four when she left my abusive father. When we finally got a place of our own, I felt pressure to make sure things were taken care of. We had chores, like all children should, but to a single mom who was trying to better herself, there was not much availability to have a messy home. Everything was always put away. Dishes were done immediately. My sister use to talk about how clean my house was when she would come over. I do not stress about it like I use to. I do the dishes in the mornings now (well sometimes). My sisters were younger and it seemed they did not “care” as much as I did, or maybe did not notice, that these things stressed my mom out. Later, I realized that I inherited that stress. This is at no way a fault of hers, it was something that I did not know how to process as an eight year old. Now that I am an adult, and with ability to surrender into His extravagant love, I can get to the root of why I stress. I did not like feeling that way, why God do I despair? He will help you work through to the root, if you let Him. I still tense up about some things, but I am getting better. You may need to talk to someone who specializes in this, that is perfectly okay. I would just encourage you to find someone who is grounded in pointing you back to Christ.

In Isaiah 9:2-7 (MSG) it talks about the promise of Christ, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—light! sunbursts of light! You repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy. Oh, they’re so glad in your presence! Festival joy! The joy of a great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings. The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants— all their whips and clubs and curses— Is gone, done away with, a deliverance as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian. The boots of all those invading troops, along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood, will be piled in a heap and burned, a fire that will burn for days! For a child has been born—for us! the gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings. He’ll rule from the historic David throne over that promised kingdom. He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing and keep it going with fair dealing and right living, beginning now and lasting always. The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this.”

There are no limits to the wholeness He will bring. I like that. However, it does not leave out my surrender to to the process to receive that wholeness. Jesus knows what it feels like to be hurt and to have to work through the emotions to process that hurt, so in turn He could walk in perfect love. It is a process. It is okay in that process, like David, you feel despair. On the other side is immense joy!

John 15:11 (NLT) I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

If you need prayer or someone to encourage you please feel free to email me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

Bass Players Creedo: “Turn it up!”

I guess a “cool” thing I tell people about myself is that I play the bass in our worship band. I have been doing so for the past twenty years.

Now, I do make it clear that I am not trained. I cannot tell you what note something is. I do play with a couple of fingers on the frets at time. I have never been really good at runs.

You see, I cannot sing. When I do, it is really bad. So I need this really loud sound coming from behind me to drown out the horrible noise coming out of my mouth so that others do not get distracted during worship.

Oh, how I love worship though! Right now I am in a season in our church where I am the worship leader. Basically, I pick the songs and tell everyone what time practice is. We talk as a group as we learn new songs and everyone’s ideas are heard. My singers know harmony and are really good at putting that together. I mean, we are no Bethel, but we get in it!

One thing I listen for in churches, when we visit, is whether you can hear the bass drum and the bass player. Then you know you are going to have a good time. Why?

“And pulsing from the thrown were blinding flashes of lightning, crashes of thunder, and voices.” Revelations 4:5a TPT

“After I heard what seemed to be the roar of a great multitude of voices, saying: ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory to the power of our God!” Revelations 19:1 TPT

One thing I listen for in churches, when we visit, is whether you can hear the bass drum and the bass player.

These are just two verses that talk about the sounds in heaven. Books I have read describes it that you can feel the sounds in your bones.

Now I have been in places where it was loud and it was not pleasing to the ears, because it was so loud. However, you do not have to be loud to feel the music. When we worship, we should do with everything that is withing us. That is why I love to play the bass during worship.

Worship is a very important part of our daily time with God. He does not demand it of us, but it should be something that comes naturally from our hearts. It is a part of my daily surrender to Him.

King David made it a part of who he was. He was not a perfect king, nor a perfect man, but his heart was for God. Father, help me have a heart like David’s. Your word says, “I will give you a new heart, a tender, responsive heart” (Ezekiel 26:36). Let my heart always be mindful of you.

My father in law likes to say there are eighteen inches between success and failure. Those eighteen inches are from your heart to your mind. Keep yourself in the Word and it will help keep your heart lined up with His.