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.”

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I WILL Wednesday 1/15/2020

It’s I WILL Wednesday!

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at His sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.  Psalm 27:4-6

Sometimes we just feel generally happy. Needs are met, family is well, doggy is wagging his tail. All seems right in your world. We just feel good. This was not the case for David. Yes this Psalm begins with David confessing faith over fear, but he still had enemies! Vicious enemies who desired to utterly destroy him. Wickedness came against him, armies surrounded him, threats of war rose against him. Everything was not good!

In this period in David’s life, he could have asked for anything. Protection, peace, an end to all this turmoil. Instead, the one thing David desired was the presence of God. He names several blessings that he found in God’s presence.

1. In the Lord’s dwelling, David was safe. (Vs. 5). This was not just a position, but also a posture—the presence of the Lord is a safe place. Though danger looms, my heart can rest in the safety of my Savior.

2. In the shelter of the Lord, David was hidden. Concealed from all the noise around him. He was very conscious to the reality of his situation. However, David’s security, as our security, is found in the Lord.

3. David was set high upon a rock. Jesus Christ is the Rock, our foundation that we should build upon. If I am on the Rock, the storms may come but I will not be moved.

4. David was able to lift his head above his enemies. Yes his enemies were still present, but David did not set his focus on them. He set his eyes on the Lord so that he might gaze in His beauty.

With all these blessings that stem from God’s presence, it’s no wonder why David responded, I WILL sing! We should respond that way too! Singing praises to our Lord, for He is worthy, He is faithful, He is constant, and He loves us. It is in Him where we can truly rest in the midst of danger, in the midst of the rain, in it the midst of our enemies. We can rest in Him. He is my safe place. He is my hiding place. He is my rock. So I will shout and offer sacrifices of joy, and I WILL sing a song of praise to My God.

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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.

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I WILL Wednesday 11/20/19

It’s I WILL WEDNESDAY!

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

This week, we are looking, at King David’s declaration of victory, I WILL not be shaken!

Psalm 16 speaks of David’s place of contentment and even rejoicing in difficult times. It also speaks prophetically about our Savior, Jesus and the hope that He brings.

How did David have hope in trying times? How did he find a place of contentment? He kept his eyes on the Lord.

I’m reminded of Peter when he walked on water. Before he began to walk, it was dark, foggy, windy and wet. Yet at the bidding of Jesus—“come”—Peter walked on the water.  The scripture says “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”   Matthew 14:30.  Peter saw the wind and began to sink. The wind didn’t cause Peter to sink, it was his shifted focus. He took his eyes off Jesus and put his eyes on his surroundings. Remember, the wind was already boisterous, the darkness was pervasive, the fog was present and the water was still wet. But when Peter had his eyes on Jesus those things didn’t matter. With eyes trained on Jesus, he didn’t sink, he couldn’t be shaken.

Where’s your focus? Is it on the circumstances around you, or on the Savior who walks with you?  When your eyes are on Jesus, nothing can shake you. Focus on the Savior. Look to Him to be your comfort, your strength and your inspiring example. Keep your eyes on Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith journey Hebrews 12:1-3.

King David knew this well. That’s why in the middle of the storms in his life, he could declare “my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope (v. 9 )”.  As he walked closely with the Lord, David could say from experience, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (v. 11 ).” The storms will rage, and hard times will come, but when you keep your eyes on Jesus you can say, I WILL not be shaken.

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I WILL Wednesday 10/23/19

Happy I Will Wednesday!

For this ‘I Will Wednesday’, we will actually be focusing on an ‘I Will Not’. Found in Psalm 3:5-6, King
David makes a declaration. He says I WILL not fear . . .
During this time in David’s life, he was running from his own son, Absalom, who had started a rebellion against him. He was forsaken by many who claimed to be his friend. His own people began to defect and join Absalom’s ranks. Trouble on every side, so much so that on-lookers felt like even God would not help him (Psalm 3:2).

In spite of it all, David did not allow the storms in his life to shake his faith. With resolve, he affirms that God is his shield, glory and the lifter of his head  (Psalm 3:3).    In the middle of his storm, when he should’ve been greatly troubled, David slept well because he knew that he was kept by the Lord  (Psalm 3:5). 

Today, all may not be as you think it should be. Troubling thoughts may attempt to derail you. You may feel that the storm you are in is overwhelming or even devastating. Even if family and friends have betrayed you, make this your declaration, I WILL not fear! We can endure our present circumstances with eyes fixed on our future hope. Then, when fear tries to creep in, be comforted by this truth; Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).

I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Psalm 3:5-6  

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I Will . . .

A29BE5BF-6B9C-4212-80AB-2B9AD6BEA6C3I will. . .
This is the answer I received from this sweet little precocious girl who dropped by my classroom one morning. This little girl, so full of life, has been through so much at her young age, but these things have not defined her. Through all that has happened, she has continued to be ever-spirited and bubbly. And her bubbly nature is abundantly infectious. She had brightened my day multiple times when I was her teacher and now, as she walks her little brother to class, she is still like a ray of sunshine.

One particularly difficult morning, Sunshine came bouncing into my room. She greeted me with a smile and hug. We chatted for a minute before she said,“I gotta go.” I said, “Ok, sweet pea. Have a good day.” Now, the typically response would be “ok” or “thank you.” On those tougher days, you may even hear, “I’ll try” or even, a dismissive “hmmp.” But not this sweet one. She bounced out of my room after saying two simple words that flipped my mood, and started the wheels of my mind turning. She said, “I will.”

First, I began to think about how I respond when I’m told to “have a good day”. Do I just see it as a well wish that is largely dependent on the happenings of the day? Or do I realize that I can change the trajectory of my day with the words I speak? Next, I began to think about those I tell “have a good day.” Is it just something to say? Or am I consciously speaking over that person’s day?

Then I began to think about the Word of God. How many ‘I wills” are found there? Am I actively declaring these in my life? Psalms includes many.

Some notable ones are:

I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. Psalm 7:17

I will love You, O LORD, my strength. Psalm 18:1b

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

Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You. Psalm 56:3

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
And I will declare what He has done for my soul.  Psalm 66:16

You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You. Psalm 118:28

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help? Psalm 121:1

What if I made the “I Wills” in scripture a part of my daily confession? What can I discover as I focus on changing my words and therefore changing my mindset? Like my darling little friend, I will challenge myself to take ownership over my days, my years, my life. I will submit to God’s sovereignty and to His divine authority. I will invite transformation through the Word of God by confessing the Word daily (because the Word Works). I will shape my day with Words of life so the next time I’m told to have good day, I can say with confidence, “I will!”

(Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring the I Wills found in scripture, in particularly in the Psalms. Join us on the Sparrows Song Facebook group each Wednesday for “I Will Wednesdays” to discover more truths from God’s Word.)

 

No Words Necessary

96653AF5-CF3C-43A3-9686-2B3FA4A6768BOne of my favorite lines in a song is “though she spoke no words, everything she said was heard, as she poured her love on the Master, from her box of alabaster.” This beautiful song, by artist CeCe Winans, depicts the story of the woman with the alabaster box who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. This beautiful account is found in Luke 7:36-50.

When the woman began to wash Jesus’ feet, the Pharisees who invited Him to his home began to question, within himself, whether Jesus was truly a prophet. These unspoken words were addressed by our Savior. Jesus, through a parable, explained the gratitude and love shown by this woman.

This woman said nothing, but there were shouts of praise. She uttered no words, but thankfulness flowed from her heart. Maybe she didn’t know what to say, or maybe the words just wouldn’t come out right. Either way, no words were needed! Our beautiful Savior heard the cries of her heart. This reminds me of a beautiful scripture found in Psalm 56:8. It says, “You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?”
(NKJV).

God is not unaware of the struggles we face. Every tear that falls is accounted for. More beautiful than that is an ancient custom that when friends visited a person who was suffering, that friend would collect the tears of the sufferer in a tiny bottle as a memory of the event. God, our faithful friend, visits us during our suffering. He doesn’t leave us all alone. Yes, He is there all the time, but when we are hurt, in distress, and in pain we become more acutely aware of His nearness. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Our loving Father sees our tears and hears the silent prayers that we pray. He truly knows the whole content of our hearts. He visits us in our suffering and comforts us with His precious presence.

Every prayer will not be only tears, we need to employ strategic warfare through praying God’s Word, praying in the Spirit, and supplicating before Him. But there will be times when we don’t know what to say, or the words escape us, or they just won’t come out. In these times, posture your heart in prayer, fall down at the feet of Jesus, and cry out to Him.