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.”

51901808-F0F9-4C47-BDFE-CFE9C66E0E1F

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

32CB1518-53F5-4546-87D7-E5A65D55BF6C

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_

 

9E852887-6A61-4665-89E6-6D4EE6E74255

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.”

8F04179C-0566-4293-8AC5-B719394518B1

 

I WILL Wednesday 1/22/2020

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  Psalm 34:1

One of the most well known “I WILLs” in scripture is Psalm 34:1. It was written from a cave when David was hiding from King Saul. Ironically, while he was hiding, many others found David and began to follow him. They joined David on the run. Saul sought to take his life. All that he knew had changed. And now others had come under his care. Not ideal circumstances, but from what should have been a dismal situation, came a beautiful song of praise.

The entire Psalm is filled with admonishments, as David gives encouragement when he himself could have used it.
“oh magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt his name together” (v. 3)
“Taste and see that the Lord Is good” (v.8)
“Fear the Lord you holy people” (v.9)
Here David only uttered what would be an encouragement to others and to himself. Praise continually.

It is difficult to praise and complain at the same time. Near impossible! Complaining keeps you in self pity. Praise lifts you out of that pit! Choose praise! Praise continually.

It is interesting to note that this Psalm was written like an acrostic poem in Hebrew. Each line starts with a letter in the Hebrew alphabet. This was a feature used to help the people remember and rehearse these truths over and over. David wanted them (and us) to remember this situation changing strategy. Praise the Lord at all times. Don’t let your circumstances change you, keep a praise on your lips and watch God move.

Can a beautiful song of praise rise from your dismal situation? Will you raise a hallelujah in the presence of enemies? Will you lift every praise to God when you are pressed on every side? Can you let praises rise from the inside so that you can be lifted up? Choose praise, and praise continually! Make this powerful declaration, “I WILL bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

E1258D3D-63E9-4A17-92F6-E76939B94B61

 

Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

Well, we are three weeks into 2020! The New Year’s excitement is waning and many are settling into their “normal.” Some are still grinding away at their goals, but, for some, discouragement and even disappointment is starting to set in. It’s not for lack of effort, or lack of motivation, but lack of results. Three weeks of advertising and promoting and only a few sales. Three weeks of praying, fasting, and dedication to a reading plan and no apparent breakthrough. Three weeks of diet and exercise and only a few pounds lost. Or worse, only three short weeks and already messed up, or, even worse, given up!

Last week we saw, in Zechariah 4, that Zerubbabel received encouragement to continue the work of rebuilding the temple.  (The Limits of Your Best) Discouragement had set in, and the Lord’s messenger reminded him, that it’s not by his power or might, but only by the Spirit of the Lord would the work be completed  (Zechariah 4:6 ).

A second part of this message speaks volumes to us. The Messenger goes on to pose the question, “Who dares despise the day of small things . . . ?” (Zechariah 4:10). Sadly, I’m guilty. I sometimes look at my meager results and wish things would move along a little—no a lot faster. And because it is not, I feel defeated and deflated. This is a hard one for me. I know that starting small is par for the course, but slow growth can be discouraging and frustrating. It is at these times, that I need this reminder not to despise small beginnings. The passage goes on to tell us why. “. . . for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT). He lovingly looks on to see us start the work He’s assigned to us. Our faithful Father’s eyes watch over the work and sees to it’s completion. Philippians 1:6 admonishes us to be “confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Don’t resent small beginnings! If God has given you the vision, resist discouragement. It may start out small but hold on.  He may give you a glimpse of the end result.  You may feel ready for that end right now, but you have to walk through each season of growth, preparation, and refining.  Starting small allows you to GROW through the process.

If your heart has been stirred with expectancy, don’t let your expectation dwindle. Don’t let small beginnings hinder you.  If God gave it to you, trust Him to bless it, grow it, and cause it to prosper and bear fruit.

Blessing,

EB

**read the other posts in this series Write the Vision (2020)  and The Limits of Your Best.

Like or follow us here and on Facebook Facebook group.

52324E64-9260-4420-B0F1-11CE5F7578A5

The Limits of Your Best

Nothing pains me more, as a teacher, then for a student to truly do their best and still end up with a poor score. I know that all students can learn but they all don’t get it at the same time. So, to see one of my kiddos put their all into something and it be a failure is disheartening. It reminds me that there are limits to our best. Our best can take us but so far and sometimes, even at our best, we end up with failure.

As we continue to launch out towards the things of God in 2020, we can run full speed ahead—right into a wall because there are limits to our best. You can be a great speaker, but still struggle with reaching certain people. You may be an outstanding writer, but your words can fall on deaf ears. You might be the most methodical person, but your attention to details and out-of-the-box thinking cannot move the supernatural.

If you go in your own strength, the end will be less than God’s best. Your best pales in comparison to God’s best. There really is no comparison!

5B2E74AE-4065-4A5F-9BB3-D101ACBDDA41

When Zerubbabel set out to rebuild the temple, progress was halted and he became discouraged. A messenger of the Lord came and assured Zerubbabel that the work would be completed, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit”  (Zechariah 4:6 ).   His mission would be accomplished, but it would not be because of Zerubbabel’s skills or abilities, it would not be because of his gifts and talents. Any mission that God ordains can only be accomplished by His Spirit. What begins in the Spirit—that vision, that calling, that God-sized idea— cannot be completed in flesh. Only by the Spirit of God can we walk out the vision and calling He has entrusted into our hands.

79DCF147-AFAE-4EFD-8C4C-839C3548D3CF

As you run with the vision God has given you, know that your best will only take you so far. Don’t rely on your own strength, skills, or abilities. Trust the supernatural empowerment of the Holy Spirit who can go places you can’t go, who can reach people you can’t reach and who can accomplish what you, even at your best, cannot accomplish.

#2020 #clearvision

(Have you written the vision? Write the Vision (2020)

I Will Wednesday 01/08/2020

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.  Psalm 27:1-3      

Happy New Year!

For many of us, the new year brings renewed focus. We look at our dreams and aspirations and we set out to put practices in place that help us reach those goals. If you are anything like me, you do this year after year. Some years we do well, but most often, by February, we’re adjusting our plan or even resigning to defeat. So many times obstacles appear and deter us from our goals. One main deterrent is fear.

Fear can stop us in our tracks and make us succumb to doubt.

King David thwarted fear with his confession found in Psalm 27. Though enemies threatened him and uncertainties loomed, David said “in this I WILL be confident.” “In this” refers to the truths declared at the beginning of the passage. Two beautiful truths that we can rest in.

The first truth, “the Lord is my light and salvation.” Darkness cannot cause me to fear, because The Lord is my light, He illuminates my path. No darkness can exist in the presence of His brilliance. Enemies cannot cause me to fear because the Lord is my salvation, He rescues and He saves. No enemy is a match for the power of God.

The second truth, “the Lord is the strength of my life”. King David was a skilled warrior. He was victorious in battle many times, but He never attributed his success to his own skills or abilities. He knew that, only in the Lord’s strength, could he win. The word strength here can be translated “Stronghold”-a fortified place of protection. In God’s strength I can only prevail.

We, too, can look forward with confidence knowing that we walk in the Lord’s illuminating light, in His Divine protection, and in His unrivaled strength. Then, come what may, we can say I WILL be confident.

63E0C8D1-C184-4237-8042-AC3F0B3C8483

Write the Vision (2020)

Most of us enter the new year full of zeal and fervor. Excitement stirs at the potential of new beginnings. Dreams, goals, and visions are the words of the day and we start off running hard towards the things God has for us. Unfortunately, the zeal fades and the fervor is soon lost and we settle back into the ho-hum of everyday life. Believe it or not, a new year holds no power to change anything but the date. Nothing changes unless you change!

One specific practice we need to put in place is writing down the vision, the dream or the plan God has given you. Vision board gatherings are very popular, but sometimes they focus more on what we want and not on the things God has designed for us.  We should plan, we should have dreams and goals, but remember “it is the Lord’s will that prevails (Proverbs 19:21 ).” We must ensure that we have what God has said cemented in our minds and memories so that when we see it come to past we know that it is God and we will praise Him for it.

The book of Habakkuk gives us a look at God’s instructions to this prophet. Habakkuk bore the heavy weight of His people. He prayed and God gave him an answer. Then God gave him these instructions, “Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets that he who reads it may run with it (Habakkuk 2:2 ).  When you write down the vision, plainly, just as you’ve received, you as well as others are more inclined to run with it. This involves a few things. First, acknowledge the vision for your life. You have to see it and embrace it (Habakkuk’s name means one who embraces). Then, you have to make it known. No, not to everyone! Allow the Holy Spirit, through His wisdom, to lead you to someone who you can share with.

Several other scriptures speak of the importance of writing things down. When God allowed Moses and the Israelites to defeat the enemy that came up against them, He told him to write down the account of victory (Exodus 17:14 ). When God promised Jeremiah that He would restore Israel, He told him to write it down so that Jeremiah would have a record of God’s promise (Jeremiah 30:2 ).  As a teacher, I often have my students write the things they are learning in their own handwriting, because it helps the concepts to become cemented in their minds. God’s desire for our lives should be so rooted in our hearts and minds that we run with passion toward His plans.

And you want to run with the vision! But please understand what running with the vision entails. You must have patience. That seems contradictory—“you are asking me to run and wait?” Yes! You want to go in God’s timing so that you will have kingdom success. As God told Habakkuk “if it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time”  (Habakkuk 2:3 ).

To run with the vision, you have to do something. While you wait, pray, study, research, worship, prepare.  Be ready when doors open.  Also, put in place some spiritual checkpoints, some dates on the calendar where you check in on your forward progress. Be intentional about what you do for the Lord and watch Him bless the work He has called you to. Don’t leave 2020 with regrets! Write the vision then run with it.

7A0DF1AE-3B3A-43E1-88C7-87743A2E9D13