I have finally added an official recording of Run After Me to YouTube. Many listeners have told me it was one of the first songs they heard from me, on Pandora, and I hope you enjoy it, too!
I have finally added an official recording of Run After Me to YouTube. Many listeners have told me it was one of the first songs they heard from me, on Pandora, and I hope you enjoy it, too!
Whew. Since we got our referral in May 2015 for our two little Haitian princesses, I have been on a completely different wavelength and music really hasn’t joined me there! I’ve been traveling, reading and praying, studying Haitian Creole & TBRI, and trying to remember to do things like, you know, eat. But I have these songs sitting here…and they’ve been beckoning me to do a rough recording at home of them. So today I gave in, and here is one of those songs!
This is “Your Glory” which doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation, but I will say–I love the thought of God’s glory being so full and never-ending that it extends to every inch of sky and land that He created. It’s more than we’ll ever see in a lifetime and more than we’ll ever hear or feel or taste, too.
And just standing in awe of that Glory is worship and so very worthwhile.
Hope you enjoy!
One of my favorite shows used to be ALIAS! Awesome music, Jennifer Garner kicking butt and saving the world, and of course I can’t leave out it was one of the first shows where the writers decided it’s not really necessary to leave a dead person dead! So an important character dies, but somehow they are back in Season 4. Love it! But anyway…
On that show, there was an evil man named Alvin Sloane. Time after time, he was always showing up with manipulation and just enough truth to get his lies accepted by his co-workers. Mr. Sloane wasn’t genuinely trusted by the third season or so, but there were times the CIA needed to use his expertise anyway and he would be in the brainstorming room giving suggestions. In one particular scene, they were discussing a problem and he piped in with his suggestion rather strongly, and the heroine, Sydney Bristow, who especially was aware of his ability to trick people, said: “Excuse me, you have no authority in this room.”
We are waking up every morning to an opportunity to walk in the flesh or walk in the Spirit, right? Like it or not, and actually even believe it or not, we are also waking up to the presence of both light and darkness, Jesus and the enemy of our souls. If we are in Christ, we have His presence around us and His Spirit within us. We can awaken to it and acknowledge it, by worshipping, digesting His Word, praying…or we can do nothing and sink deeper into the flesh, which is more Satan’s playground than we like to think.
He’s having a blast wreaking havoc in us and around us when we have chosen to stay in the flesh, yet he never actually had the authority to do that. He does it simply because we didn’t tell him not to. We have to stand our ground.
It may look like a sudden sense of confusion, or a sudden line of thinking that brings you back to an old habit or addiction. It may be frustration and anger that just takes you by surprise, and you can’t believe you’re feeling and acting so ugly. It may be a habitual thing or an acute thing, but it’s negative, harsh, unforgiving, or fear-filled.
In those moments, I don’t always realize it is the enemy. And of course, sometimes it isn’t directly the enemy. Sometimes we have a process to work through to get where we need to be emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. But thank God, it’s not always a big long process! Sometimes it’s just as simple as recognizing what is going on. Whether someone is coming at us with one of these negative, irrational, overreacting emotions or we feel it rise up in ourselves, we are the ones with the authority in the situation, not the enemy. The name of Jesus makes the enemy flee! He can’t fill us, he can’t control us, and he knows it. He can only make suggestions that turn to thoughts that turn to feelings that turn to words and actions and habits and sin!!! We must know his schemes but also his gaping weaknesses.
Speaking, singing, and praising the name of Jesus makes the grip of the spirit of fear, confusion, bitterness, unforgiveness, laziness, lust, and anger loosen. We don’t have to stay in that place, abused and oppressed. With the knowledge that “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4) and the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) we can know our place of authority over the enemy.
Here are some further scriptures on this, and just in writing this, I am so spurred on to ask the Holy Spirit to help me be aware when evil, un-peaceful, and divisive spirits are at work so that I can choose to not go along with them. We need a new normal, brothers and sisters in Christ, and that new normal is recognizing what is going on in the unseen and standing our God-given ground!
1 Peter 5:6-11
Every. Single. Day. I keep thinking I’ll wake up one day and I’ll already be gloriously in the Spirit, patient with others, self-disciplined, ready to come to Jesus. Hasn’t happened yet, friends. I wake up to my hair plastered to my face, a serious dread of the exercise DVD, and temptation to watch movies in bed. Every. Single. Day. And you know what? It’s important that I realize this may never change. It’s important that I realize this decision is mine. Every. Single. Day.
Every morning we’re faced with this need for a death to self and an awakening to our new Life, who we are in Christ. We can stay in the easy-peasy already warmed up vehicle of the flesh or we can do the work, pulled up out of ourselves by the grace of God, to walk in the Spirit! One of the greatest ways to make that transition from flesh to Spirit, and then remain there in Him, is prayer.
Prayer can be talking, listening, or just connecting. It can be serious intercession for others or it can be journaling your thoughts, needs, and thanks. It can go on all day while you’re doing other things, a continual turning your face to Him, or it can be a time of sitting or walking while specifically focused on prayer. For me, it’s all of the above.
All in all, it is simply learning that beautiful practice of abiding in His presence, like John 15 describes, and acknowledging His nearness. A partnership grows, secrets are shared, and new purpose is given to life! We can actually learn to pray exactly what He wants us to pray, and a cycle is formed: He invites us to pray what is on His heart, we listen and agree with Him, we pray His Word back to Him and ask for specific things for ourselves and others, and His hand moves. He lets us in on this, friends! Our prayers spur His action!
A few basics of prayer that I’m not ashamed to say are still rocking my world:
1. Philippians 4:6 & 7//Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. We present our requests, many of which He put on our hearts in the first place. We can offer up thanks with these requests–thanks for all He has done, for His nearness, and for the beauty of where we are at this moment even before He answers. I think of this verse as I’m going before a trusted Judge or committee, and presenting my request, laying the file before them, asking for their careful thought and decision.
2. 1 John 5:14//This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. Isn’t this amazing? We didn’t mail in this request and wonder if it got lost in transit! He hears us and is actively working on our case. This blesses me tremendously. I can relax under this truth, while still asking, I’m at rest. Knowing He has heard me lets me move on and make sure my prayer life isn’t all about asking! It’s about dwelling and communing, too. Intercession and intimacy cannot be separated from one another. One might get heavier than the other at times, but for either to be true, we must have them both.
3. 1 John 3:21-22//Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him. Kind of a risky verse to post, but I believe it. In God’s timing, as we learn surrender and obedience and the sound of His voice, I do believe we will receive from Him anything we ask. Who we are while we wait is key…In prayer, it really is more about the journey than the destination, whether we like that or not. When we pray, do our hearts condemn us? Do our hearts tell us what we’re asking for really isn’t God’s will? We need to listen for that, and find out what He actually does want us asking for.
4. Psalm 75:2//You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly.” He hasn’t forgotten. And He is good. Deep breaths. The time will come.
When we are asking and waiting for specific things, or confessing sin, or giving Him total freedom to rule our day, all of which are prayer, a death to self happens. And finally, there is room for our new Life in Christ–who we really are in Him–to raise up. Day by day, morning by morning, we choose to live.
This is a new song I wrote last month, “Turning the Tide”, about a vision He gave me during my prayer time. Please forgive my really boring video technique! It’s just the quickest way to share the song, but hopefully soon I will be doing more recording.
The definition of worship is “the feeling or expression of adoration or reverence.” Yes! I love this, and I love to worship!
Worshipping God can happen in just being happy, content, or thankful; it can happen in surrender and faith; it can happen in the words we say or sing; or it can happen in the quietness of a heart turned toward Him in utter dependence and desire to obey.
One of the greatest ways to stay in a spirit of worship, and thereby building yourself up in your most holy faith (Jude :20), is through music.
I remember as a teenager the big debate about whether or not we should be listening to “secular” or “Christian” music. Now I understand to just listen to whatever the Spirit will let me listen to, but back then I had not learned the sound of His voice. I don’t know if God told me to do this or not, but I remember throwing away all of my “secular” music (tapes, haha)…and I’m glad I did. I didn’t have to do so in order to be a Christian, but it wasn’t doing anything for my ability to grow in a personal relationship with Jesus either. There are so many avenues for our heart and mind to go down, every day, both then as a very impressionable young person and now. What I put in my head matters. I’m glad I sought out music that would speak life into my soul and teach me truths that would stick with me. Today, my family and I listen to all kinds of music, but we definitely have Christian, contemplative/lyric-less, and worship music on more often than anything else.
Why music? How can a song make such a difference in our hearts turning toward God?
1. We are stating truth, and God’s Word never returns void! Isaiah 55:11 says: “…so is My Word that goes out of My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which it was sent.” Whether we are singing songs that are prayers straight to God, or singing songs that simply are statements of truth, we are strengthened by these reminders, because they are God’s holy, living, active Word. The truth goes in and begins to frame our lives and give us a renewed vision and hope, even if it is not immediate. Many times in my life, songs have lifted me out of darkness and were like a rope lowered down to me when other forms of truth were harder to connect with for some reason.
2. We are taking our eyes off of the wind and the waves of our circumstances, taking a break from our worrying and stressing, and turning our faces to the Lord. When we come back down from the mountain with Him, situations we are in are able to take on new meaning. We are always strengthened for the task ahead; we are given what we need specifically in His presence. Most of all, we are reminded He is with us and wants to abide with us every moment, not just in those somewhat rare times we stop “to worship.” He’s a refuge, He’s a cleft in the rock. Isaiah 26:3 says: “You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” The whole of Song of Solomon beckons us to look to the One who loves us! Look at this from SOS 2:14, when the Lover (the Lord) says: “My dove is in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” That’s Jesus talking to you! He invites us to come in and hide for awhile. Remember this hymn: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face…and the things of earth will turn strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” It’s true. We are transformed in His presence.
3. When we learn to gaze and meditate on the Lord and all His beautiful characteristics, His heart is filled with joy…and others are affected as well! Psalm 69:30-32: “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs. The poor will see and be glad–you who seek God, may your hearts live!!” I love the joy on a person’s face when they are worshipping. I can only imagine the look on the Lord’s face as He receives our praises! And when others see our lives of worship, or us literally singing and enjoying His presence, they will experience a change in the atmosphere, too.
The definition of worship doesn’t just say a feeling of adoration, it says “an expression”! If there was one thing I could say to the Church today about worship it would be to stop being afraid to really express their adoration and thankfulness to God. We are all different in what we’re comfortable with, sure. No problem. But when the words on the screen in your worship service say “Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and has shed His own blood for my soul” and all we can do is stand there barely mouthing the words, what is going on? Will unbelievers walk in that place and see an adoration for Jesus? Or will they see people just getting through “the program”? Only God knows our hearts, but I know for me, He has said these words very clearly about corporate worship: “Give it to Me! Give me the worship I deserve! Don’t you hold back anything!” And that means confession of sin, laying down of worries, interceding, hearing next steps, lifting hands, singing out, or sometimes sitting in silence and tears as I listen. I cannot encourage you enough to enter in to this kind of daily experience with Jesus, and music is a wonderful door to get there.
Revelation 4 & 5 describes the Throne Room of Heaven…can I share just a brief moment of this scene, this example of worship?
“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, ten thousand upon ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever! The four living creatures said ‘Amen’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:11-14
I’m not waiting until Heaven to worship with all that is within me! “How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!” Ps. 147:1
Great worship resources and my particular favorites:
Here is the song “Hallelujah” from my and Joanna Black’s worship CD, Beloved. All of my lyrics and chords are also available on this website, just click on lyrics on Home page. 🙂 Pray this song will bring you into the peace and reality of His presence!
“…We are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss…Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple?” 1 Corinthians 3:9-16
We are in the building process, every day, through the circumstances God allows into our lives, but also through the choices we make to add layer upon layer onto our faith!
One choice that we must make in order to build (and build upon) a firm foundation is to be daily and regularly in the Word of God.
Communication between us and God is set in motion when we are in His Word. There is always something new and always something more, if reading is accompanied by openness to the Holy Spirit. If we ask Him directly for His input, He will open new truth that speaks to the current status of our heart and life! I have that much confidence in the Holy Spirit/Word of God duo!!! If the Word feels dull, confusing, irrelevant, infuriating, boring, or even wrong, we can tell Him how we feel. The Word is alive, interactive, and meant to bring conversation with Him.
Being in the Word of God is one of the main ways we can hear God’s voice, because His Word IS His voice! When we have begun to recognize His voice in Scripture, we begin to hear Him speak outside of it, too. A thought while we’re driving the car, an answer to a particular prayer or question. Reading His Word is one of the main ways we can learn to differentiate between which thoughts (and even words from others that are directed toward us) are from God and which need to be dismissed and forgotten. It gives us an innate discernment, what is called the “mind of Christ”, because our hearts are melding into His as we read more and more about what He loves and hates. It grows in us a change of opinion when our opinions were wrong. It grows in us a softness where there needs to be mercy and a fierce determination where there is meant to be justice. His Word is living and active. It goes in and it changes things. It is the nutrient our souls were meant to ingest daily! I can’t help but think of the yogurt with the “1 billion acidophilus cultures” in it. The package declares this incredibly wonderful but creepy message: Active bacteria, live cultures! Gee, thanks!! (But really…thanks!) That healthy bacteria that we’re ingesting, as weird as it sounds, is making our digestive system a much happier place. The good bacteria needs to be there to overpower and kill off the bad bacteria that would make us sick. Think of God’s Word, all of it, any of it, as a living and active ingredient that goes in where He knows it needs to go, to whatever parts of our heart need to be cleansed, overpowered with truth and goodness, and made healthy again. And just a side note, most of us don’t get these live cultures in the food we normally eat. Very few restaurants are handing out rejuvenating, life giving food; we have to go out of our way to find it and consume it…hint hint!
Love and respect for the Word of God grows the more we become acquainted with it. Psalm 119 is an intense chapter of appreciation and longing for Scripture. The wisdom and the joy of the writer! He had found something worth going on and on about…!
In different seasons of life, we have to get creative and make being in the Word happen. Here are some ideas and resources for that, just to name a few:
*Listen to podcasts, such as Passion City Church , Martha Kilpatrick , Bethel Church , and Beth Moore. Even if they are just playing in a sometimes-empty room, grab what you can as the Word of God streams through the air of your house!
*Watch preaching and teaching videos. Some of my favorites are: Anyone from International House of Prayer, Kansas City , especially Misty Edwards. We don’t have to agree with every point teachers make on videos we watch, but our hearts will feel if someone is just not lining up with God’s Word. Obviously, not everyone out there with videos online is preaching truth. The more we are in His Word for ourselves, the more we will be able to discern.
*Get involved in group or personal book studies, that dig into one particular topic or book of the Bible. Here’s a good resource: Women of Faith. I have personally always gotten a lot out of Beth Moore studies, but those were my pre-children season type of studies! I highly recommend them though. I also read books and resources by Martha Kilpatrick regularly. You can find her info on the link above under podcasts.
*Read blogs! The transparency of blogs from people truly seeking God are invaluable! Here are some great ones I read: Ray Hollenbach and Ann Voskamp There are so many I could share, but those are the ones I usually click on when they go through my Twitter feed…
*Hide His Word in your heart. Memorize verses with your family. Write a verse a week on a poster and tape it to the wall next to the dinner table! I never realized the work, honestly, that the Word of God that I had memorized in the past was doing for me all these years. So many times that I had hope or bravery or the words to say, that was a direct result of hiding God’s Word in my heart throughout my life. Some of those verses were learned just so I could earn a piece of candy! Haha!
*Pray His Word…back to Him.
*Sing His Word…out loud!
*Just open it up and read. Daily, if we feel overwhelmed, we can read a Psalm and a chapter from a book of the New Testament for starters, and then see where He leads. There’s no right or wrong way to be in the Word. Sometimes God will keep me on one passage or sentence for weeks. We can’t be all about quantity with this. There are no stickers on any charts here!
I want to share this new song with you that I’ve been writing the past couple of weeks, “Your Voice”. He is speaking…because He loves to. His Voice, His Word, these are some of the sweetest gifts He could have given us…and they are our’s in abundance.
Some time ago I wrote a blog that mentioned how I’m re-learning this truth: “Build yourself up in your most holy faith…” Jude :20
How often I forget that just like my physical being needs continuous nutrients, my spiritual being needs continuous nutrients as well! So, what are those nutrients? How does one get to a deeper level, a more life-giving place, with God? And the even bigger question: How does one continue with that growth in a steadfast way, rather than the roller coaster ride most of us are accustomed to?
There’s a lot to explore here, but I do know this: It comes down to a daily decision. A daily choice. And that’s no one’s choice but our own.
For today…will we choose to turn our faces toward the Lord and do the work necessary to abide in Him?
A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream that spoke exactly to this and it really amazed me! I dreamt I woke up and the very first thing I did was go into a garage that was connected to my house (I don’t really have a garage but in my dream, I did.) I opened the door and saw two cars. One car was already warmed up for me. The engine was already purring. It looked like I wouldn’t have to think about it, do a single thing for it, in fact it seemed as if I wouldn’t even have to drive it but that it would drive me! The other car was cold. It was on E. The battery was barely hanging on and would need a jump. Which did I have time for? Which seemed the most attractive? Which was easier to hop in and start my day with?
I woke up knowing exactly what the Spirit of God was saying to me, and oh how I needed to hear it. I could choose to walk in the flesh all day, which is always warmed up and ready to go, and let my natural (read: ungodly) responses to people and life rule my mind, mouth, attitude, and actions…or I could choose to pause for a little while and let my heart and mind be renewed and transformed in the presence of my Savior, a work that is His work but that I have to ask for and acknowledge my need of.
So this is just a picture of our choice. It’s just spelling out the simple truth that loving God, embracing His love for us (being changed by this gift), and being able to show His love to others don’t just happen spontaneously. No, we shed the garments of the flesh, and we put on the garments of righteousness. Not just on the day of salvation, but everyday, through confession of sin, prayer, worship, being in the Word of God, putting on our spiritual armor, being in fellowship with other believers, obeying, using our spiritual gifts, and many more practices that refresh, remind, and revive. I used to be so aggravated that I would wake up to a battle every morning. I would go to bed peaceful and in love with Jesus and wake up as fleshly as flesh can be. I still do. The difference is that now I expect this! Take that, Satan! Now I know that battle will be there, and it stands as my opportunity to consciously choose to walk in the Spirit instead. Amen!
For the next month or two, I want to write a series of blogs talking about how to “build yourself up in your most holy faith.” I have been the victim of the enemy for so long, in emotional and mental battles, in morning misery, in thinking I should be better, be stronger, live closer to the Lord…But now I know the truth. #1, it’s not just me!! #2, the Word of God clearly details how we can be strengthened for those battles, no longer a victim, no longer caught off guard. So, what I’m writing about is elementary, the blog titles will not wow anybody, but still, many of us including myself need to hear these truths and walk in them in a consistent manner in order to see the victory we long for, to be the people who will bring His Kingdom ways into this day, and to have the joy that should characterize a child of God!
Today’s blog is the introduction to the series, and we’ll jump into specifics, in no particular order, soon! I also have some songs I’m writing that I would like to include in these series, so I pray that the Lord will speak these magnificent truths through my very small offering of words. The first song I want to share to go with this series is We Come Out Shining. This is on the CD Who We Are While We Wait available at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lyndsaytaylor3 or iTunes.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3-6
Selah did a beautiful job making this static video for me of my and Joanna’s duet, When Faith Runs Deep! Enjoy and feel free to share!
Sometimes at the beginning of a new year, the Lord will give me a word, phrase, or picture that brings life into focus.
This year, it is simply that He is like a magnet. He is the force inside of me that is my only hope of gravitating toward wisdom, gratefulness, and loving Him and others. I realize sometimes that it has been so long since I asked for help in some areas; I keep trying so hard, working so hard…And then when I ask, there He is, the gravitational force inside of me steering me toward being what I could not be on my own. This is the power of Christ in me! This is the mystery of saying, “I cannot do that…but I am.”
He IS the Life inside this body. He is the fire.
And He is also the magnet that continuously seeks to draw me close. It’s not me. It’s Him. Oh, it’s all His never tiring grace! Let’s succumb to the never tiring grace, my friends!
I wanted to share a little of a song I’m still in the process of writing:
Like a memory
like a beacon
like a magnet
whom Your heart desires
something in me catches fire again
Your voice it calls me in
It’s not us, it never was…that seeks Him, that blesses others, that speaks truth, that ministers, that makes holy choices, that knows which way to go. It’s His voice, it’s His kindness, it’s His real life really living inside of us.
This is a song I wrote several years ago but haven’t had a lot of opportunity to share it! It is my heart’s desire for this coming year though! I have always loved New Years…It is fun to reflect on the past year, but also wave goodbye to it in setting our faces toward the year to come. Whatever we have endured this year, God has used to grow us in maturity and perseverance. Whatever we will endure this coming year, God will be faithful, present, and at work. As believers, we dwell in a win-win situation. There is always healing, in God’s right and wise timetable. There is always hope, as we learn to hope with Him for the things on His heart. There is always enough, as our goals are aligned with His. He never fails at what He sets out to do…so this year, I choose to go with Him! Nothing held back from His gaze and power.
Blessings on your New Year!