Standing on the Word 3/30/2020

I heard a song this morning that reminded me of this beautiful passage (another one of my life verses). Grief, mourning, and heaviness are weights that we can carry, but there is a beautiful exchange our Savior offers to us all. In exchange for the ashes of life, He gives us a crown of beauty. For mourning and grief, He gives us His joy. For our sorrow, heaviness, and sadness He wraps us in a garment of praise (oh that garment of praise!). And then we will be like trees that stand firm in a storm. And not just stand firm, but stand for righteousness because we have been planted by the Lord and we stand in His glory. Are you standing in what seems to be the ashes of a life gone up in flames? Are you consumed by grief? Is depression pulling you down into a bottomless pit? Well, there is a Savior who offers us a great exchange. Our broken, useless, shattered pieces for His wholeness, love, and beauty.

“To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

 

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I WILL Wednesday 3/18/2020

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me.” Psalm 44:6

Today’s I WILL passage is more of an I WILL NOT.  Like many other Psalms, this one was written by David. David was a highly skilled warrior and experienced many victories in battle even as a teenager. In fact, his big introduction to the world was on a battlefield when he defeated Goliath with a slingshot and five smooth stones ( 1 Samuel 17).  Here we see David speaking opposite of what a warrior would say when he says “I will not trust my bow, neither shall my sword save me”.

Wait a minute, David was a highly trained and skilled warrior! When opposing kings heard that David and his army were on the hill or in the valley waiting to come in and wage war, knees trembled, fear rose, and people fled for their lives. Just the thought of David’s anger being turned in their direction caused people to retreat and rethink their actions.

You would think this would produce an arrogance in David, but instead, this great warrior humbly admits that his many victories are not gained through physical warfare. David could boldly say this was because he knew his victory was not in the sword or the bow. His victories did not come from having the best strategic plan in the battle.  People greatly admired David and would wonder “how was he so successful in battle?” David gives this answer in Psalm 121:2 “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Even though David was a warrior among warriors, he knew that he could do nothing without God. It didn’t matter the size of the enemy, the victory would only come from God.  It didn’t matter how much planning he did, the victory would only come from God.  It didn’t even matter if it looked like the win was “guaranteed” the victory would only come from God.

We should say the same thing in our lives today.  No, we don’t go around with a bow and sword (except for the Word of God). However, we are tempted to place our trust in the things we have or the things we’ve obtained. Nothing we have, be it education, skills, knowledge, or financial prosperity—NOTHING can secure our victory apart from Christ. Therefore we should not place our trust in these things. I’m not saying don’t use these things, because we should. David would never go out into battle without his sword or bow, but he didn’t put his trust into those things, he put his trust in God alone. The only one who can save us and secure our victory.

1 Corinthians 15:57 says “But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

So, as you face situations in your life, especially amid this COVID-19 pandemic or any other thing that may be plaguing your lives, confess like David, I WILL NOT put my trust in my bow.  I WILL NOT put my trust in my sword!  But I WILL trust God!

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I WILL Wednesday 3/4/2020

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Psalm 43:4

Today’s I WILL passage is found in a journey from pain to praise. At the onset of this Psalm, the psalmist starts by crying out to God. From a place of despair, he seeks God’s help in desperation. He pleaded for vindication and rescue from the assaults of his enemy. The psalmist cried out to God because he confidently knew that God could deliver him. Verse 4, our focus for today, points out a very important thing the psalmist did, he went to the altar. Now an altar, in this time was a place of sacrifice, a place where something changed, a place where something died. Today it’s not so much a place, but the posture of our hearts. Our hearts should be a place where something changes, where something is altered.

This psalmist reminds us that when we come to the altar something will change. It may be your broken heart, it may be your wounded spirit, it may be your wayward thinking, or even your negative outlook. In the presence of the Lord, change happens!

Look at the psalmist’s altar experience. At the altar, he remembered his God; at the altar, a praise burst forth. At the altar, his pain turned into praise. He began to speak to himself! The psalmist asked himself, “ Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues?” (v. 5MSG). Then he had a reality check, and told himself, “Put your hope in God” (v. 5).

At the altar, we can gain an objective view of ourselves! Am I wallowing in self pity? Have my circumstances clouded my thinking? Is what I’m going through bigger than my God? NO! Then adjust your thinking, adjust your speaking, and place your hope where it belongs, in God.

Are you in need of a change? Does depression, negativity, and self pity need to die in your life? Do you need to journey from pain to praise? If so, remember this psalmist and share in his declaration, “l WILL go to the altar of God.”

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Write the Word 2020

Hello Sparrow’s Song Family!

It has been one year since the launch of the Write the Word Challenge and we are celebrating how God has sustained us, revealed Himself to us, and has never failed us!

We have been blessed to become acquainted with some wonderful people who have become members of our Sparrow’s Song community from all over the world!  So to ALL of our newcomers, WELCOME!

Now let’s get down to the Word. This month we are kicking off Write the Word with a study of the major themes of Ephesians.  Ephesians is a foundational book that tells believers key truths about our position in Christ, our walk with Christ, and how to stand against spiritual attacks from the enemy.  I will also add last year’s guide so that you can choose from the two, or feel free to use your own.

Just like before we are just writing the word. This format is just a guide for you. If you wish to write different scriptures please don’t feel like that is not okay BECAUSE IT IS!

One last thing, if you are new to Sparrow’s Song Ministries, we invite you to join and follow the Sparrow’s Song Ministries Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/sparrowssongsong/#
Here you will be able to join an online community where people are striving for a closer relationship with God, receiving encouragement from others, and also encouraging others who are in their own personal journey in Christ.

So here we go… Let’s write The Word!

~ Erica

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A Fresh Yes (Vision 2020)

2CC44279-339D-4975-8D3F-49F7DE182724“But, have you moved yet?” This is something I used to say to my children, as I reiterated my initial directions. Even after the eager “Yes ma’ams” the assigned task would STILL go incomplete. See, I can tell my children to do something and they can say yes, but if they don’t make a move to do it, has their heart really said yes? I had to really think about this. Is that how I treat God and the things of God?

In moments of worship, prayer, and meditation (and sometimes in moments of emotion) I will say, “yes!” But when I look back on many of those moments I see that I’ve done little to nothing in efforts to accomplish what He’s told me to do. In some cases, I’m sitting on my “yes”, and haven’t even moved.

God still wants a “yes” from His children! But our “yes” should be coupled with actionable steps of obedience. When you say yes, go ahead and take that first step. Put feet to your faith!

What is truly keeping you from walking in obedience? Is it the money? Lack of support? Fear of the unknown? Has too much time passed? None of these things can limit our God. When He calls you, He equips you with everything you need to accomplish the task.

It’s time to evaluate. Are you sitting on “stale” yeses? Are you walking in delayed obedience (which is disobedience)? Have you lost momentum? Has fear and doubt paralyzed you? Do you think too much time has passed? Be assured, God has not changed His mind.

Take heart friends! Jonah did not obey God immediately. The Word tells us that Jonah heard God’s call, but chose to walk in disobedience. He totally went the opposite way! (Jonah 1-1:3). After a storm, being thrown overboard, and 3 days in a big fish, Jonah decided to do it God’s way. The third chapter of Jonah starts with a beautiful, redeeming phrase, “The Word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time” (Jonah 3:1). Ok, so you haven’t been swallowed up by a big fish, but it can seem like fear, timing, and other ‘hope thieves’ will swallow you up.  You need to break free!

Break free by saying yes! A yes from the heart. Then walk in obedience. Take an actionable step of faith and watch God move. Whether it is inhibitions, fear, or that you just don’t know where to begin, start by giving God a fresh yes, then take the first step.

Like Sparrow’s Song Ministries on Facebook! Sparrow’s Song Ministries

Check out the other blog posts in this series:

Write the Vision (2020)

The Limits of Your Best

Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

You Were Made For This

Don’t Throw It Away (Vision 2020)

 

Write The Word Challenge 2020

 

Whoohoo!

It’s the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY for Sparrow’s Song Ministries/The Word W.O.R.K.S.’ Write the Word challenge.

For a year now we have been putting the Word of God above everything else. Through this year God has blessed us so much and there’s no going back now!So for those of you who are new to Sparrow’s Song, I challenge you to branch out with us and Write the Word. And for those who have been in the journey for some time now, let’s keep going!

The Word of God is so important in our lives. It’s more than words on pages, it’s living and life giving.

The Word of God is a wellspring to a dry and thirsty soul.

The Word will strengthen a weary heart.

The Word can redirect your focus towards purposeful things.

The Word brings comfort to wounded souls.

Yes friends, THE WORD (STILL) W.O.R.K.S.

Starting March 1st (for the second time), with one verse, or as much as you want, we’re going to journey into the Bible together. We’ll do it little by little, with no pressure! No study guide or workbook. Just the Word. How? By writing it. When you write the Word of God in your own handwriting, it helps you get a better understanding of what you’re reading, and it helps you to remember it. Studies have shown, writing makes it easier for our brains to store, retain, and recall information. What better content to store, retain, and recall than the Word of God.

Join me in our Write The Word Challenge. For the next 31 days make the Word of God a priority. The challenge will run from March 1-31, 2020.

I hope you decide to join us (or rejoin us) in this challenge! Invite your friends! We are excited to continue diving into God’s Holy word with you all.

It’s so easy to sign up, just enter your first name, email, and comment the words “I’m in 🙋‍♀️”, down below, OR comment on our Facebook Post, and we’ll send you suggested templates, and scriptures to get started, as well as other helpful resources and encouragement.

Also, like our Facebook page and follow us at http://sparrowssongministries.com

Don’t know what you’re going to write in? Try Sparrow’s Song’s Scripture Writing Journal. https://www.amazon.com/dp/108124285X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_

 

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I WILL Wednesday 2/19/20

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

I WILL Wednesday is all about speaking the Words of God to change your life, but this week is a little different. This week is about knowing when to keep quiet and declaring that you will do just that!

“I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.” Psalm 39:1

There are times to speak and there are times when our words fail us. Then there are times when we are full of emotions and the words we speak have the potential to betray us. We misspeak or are misunderstood because we speak impulsively from a place of despondency. David knew this feeling well. That’s why he vowed to keep watch over his ways—be careful and cautious—not to sin with his mouth.

This is so important. 2 Corinthians 10:5 admonishes us to demolish every argument and pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and to take every wayward, negative, ungodly thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Sometimes, however, we let those thoughts become words and those words have the power to reek havoc in our lives. Instead of speaking the wrong things, be like David and say, “I WILL put a muzzle over my mouth!” Ok, I’m not saying that you should use a device designed for animals. But I am saying you should take it that seriously. Do all you can to prevent your lips from causing destruction, in your life and in the lives of others. When your heart is overwhelmed and your emotions are in overdrive, learn to muzzle your words, and instead, speak the Word of God.

David was especially cautious “in the presence of the wicked.” There are those who seek to cause trouble for you. We also have a very real enemy who seeks to devour, and he will use your words to do it.  Proverbs 18:21 says “Words have power in matters of life and death” (The Voice). Your words can build, influence, inspire, and encourage. Likewise, your words can tear down, defame, impair, and destroy.

Which will you choose? In the heat of the moment, don’t allow complaining, cynicism, gossip, anger, or bitterness to flow from your lips! Choose to speak words of life, or say nothing at all! Put a proverbial muzzle over your mouth and declare like David, “I WILL watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin.”

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