A Song in My Heart

A magazine editor once interviewed a successful author and asked, “What makes for a good story, one that will draw a large audience?”

The author’s answer, simple and pointed, was, “Trouble. Trouble. Trouble.”

I’ve never been one to spend a lot of time perusing the daily news. So much of it is full of “trouble, trouble, trouble.” It’s what sells. It’s what keeps us clicking on links or tuning in. While a lot of the morning news doesn’t really apply to me, it can still pull me down. I’m back to curating my input, filtering it through this faith-filled reminder:

 I never face trouble alone, and I have plenty of reasons to go through my day with good cheer.

It helps to keep a song in my heart. Here are a few of my favorites. Take a look today, or turn on your own faith filled tunes. Don’t let the morning news trouble you without filtering it through faith.

  • “Happiness Is the Lord”
  • “I’m So Happy and Here’s the Reason Why”
  • “Trust and Obey” (for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
  • “Oh Happy Day”

And just to convince you further of the importance of song:

  • From Ephesians: “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord .”
  • From Colossians: Teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
  • From Isaiah: Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.”

8th Grade

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Jake and Elizabeth gave Steve an Echo Dot for his birthday. We’re often late to the technology game, and I wasn’t even sure we’d use it. But, yes we do! Sometimes I ask it to play music from Calamity Jane so I can watch Kate dance, or from Moana so that Nick will belt out words from his favorite song. The other day, though, I asked Alexa to play music by Chris Rice, and a song came up that I’d never heard, “8th Grade.”

At first, I thought “8th Grade” was just a sweet little ditty about surviving junior high. Not true. It’s a challenge to stop seeing the past as safer and the future as worry-worthy. I love songs about trust, but typing someone else’s lyrics into a blog is absolutely not allowed unless the words are very old (which these are not). I offer you these links instead. Please, stop reading, click, listen, and let it soak into your soul.

(Just for fun, I’ve chosen the version with Lego animation)

Enjoy!

Lego Version

In Case You Don’t Like Legos

Thank You Days

A single day in November seems too small a portion of time to set aside for giving thanks. Yes, I know we give thanks at meals and many other times, but there’s something special, powerful even, about setting aside a whole day. I’ve also found Thank You Days to be an effective deterrent when anxiety or “the blues” are threatening a take-over of my joy. So, even though—or maybe even because—these are troubling days, I want to tell you what a Thank You Day looks like for me. (‘Sorry, no turkey.)

I’ll start my morning prayer with something like, “Lord, you know all of my needs and concerns. I know I don’t need to list them, so I leave them with you. Help me to thank you all day long. Open my eyes. Thank you for…” In some part of me, that prayer continues all day long. I’m not saying we should abandon all intercession for the needs for others, not by a long shot. But, just for one day now and then, couldn’t we turn our thoughts and prayers to thanksgiving alone?

My Bible reading for those days is taken from passages of praise, mostly the Psalms.

I might choose to skip the news as a matter of focus, or simply thank God for his sovereignty over all things even as I listen to disheartening reports.

And, for me, music matters. I’ve found I can work best at my desk with instrumental praise streaming in the background, switching to something more lively when it’s time to exercise or knock out household chores. (Message me if you’d like to know my Pandora favorites.)

We know God wants us to praise him. I believe this is for his glory, but for our good as well. Praise, worship, and giving thanks are inextricably intwined, and when I engage in them, I am more fully aware of our Lord’s presence. Loads are lifted. Joy—and perspective—return.

A Thank You Day: Try it. I think you’ll like it!

And So We Sing!

prairie-dog-1470659_1280 sing pixabayHave you seen the movie “Sing”?  I smiled throughout that whole film. Perhaps I was simply amused by the thought of Matthew McConaughey as an entrepreneurial koala bear, but I think it was the music that lifted my spirits. My brother has been a worship leader for years, yet I am just now beginning to grasp the power of music, and the importance of music in the Bible. Check out these verses:

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30).

“Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18b-19).

Those verses don’t treat music, and singing in particular, as something we are meant to do once in a while, under our breath, when no one is listening, or sometimes in the shower. The Israelites appointed music makers and singers to full time positions! Music must be important to God. Those verses make me think it is important to all of us.

Pandora’s Box

I was the last in my family to get a smartphone. A fan of pocket-sized flip phones, I made the trade when I knew my grandson was on his way. (I wanted a way to watch him grow via photo and video and chatting apps.) I never dreamed that Pandora would become such an important tool in my life. My two favorite stations are (‘probably dating myself here) “Instrumental Praise Radio” and “Michael W. Smith Radio” (unless I’m with 1-year-old Nick, in which case “VeggieTales Radio” wins.) If I’m a bit down or weary, the music encourages and energizes me. If I’m simply in need of a background reminder of who is in control of my day, Pandora does the job. And if Nick is cranky? Yep, Veggietales helps! Most of the time the music is simply a delightful way to spend time praising God.

Music. Singing. I’m adding more of it to my day as I work, rest, or play. I see now that this is yet another way to obey our Lord and glorify him. Won’t you join me? (And if you have a favorite station, let me know, and I’ll give it a try!)