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I wanted to share this little snippet from the Garth Brooks Concert in Grand Rapids over the weekend.
I have enjoyed his music for a long time, but after seeing him live I have solid respect for this man. His talent….seriously wow. His attitude…my sister and I kept commenting on how big he was smiling. He set the tone in that arena and it was a blast!
He readily gave honor to those who inspired him, like Michigan’s own Bob Seger. He gave honor to the team that has been with him since even before people knew his name. He also gave honor to the fans with a genuine thank you and by giving his all, even with a cold and another whole concert after ours on Saturday night.
When ever I listen to Billy Joel, I’m like man oh man…I love Billy Joel. The song that got me this time was Leningrad.
The lyrics are poignant poetry…take a gander…
Viktor was born in the spring of ’44
And never saw his father anymore
A child of sacrifice, a child of war
Another son who never had a father after Leningrad
Went off to school and learned to serve the state
Followed the rules and drank his vodka straight
The only way to live was drown the hate
A Russian life was very sad
And such was life in Leningrad
I was born in ’49
A cold war kid in McCarthy time
Stop ’em all at the 38th Parallel
Blast those yellow reds to hell
And cold war kids were hard to kill
Under their desks in an air raid drill
Haven’t they heard we won the war
What do they keep on fighting for?
Viktor was sent to some Red Army town
Served out his time, became a circus clown
The greatest happiness he’d ever found
Was making Russian children glad
And children lived in Leningrad
But children lived in Levittown
And hid in the shelters underground
Until the Soviets turned their ships around
And tore the Cuban missiles down
And in that bright October sun
We knew our childhood days were done
And I watched my friends go off to war
What do they keep on fighting for?
And so my child and I came to this place
To meet him eye to eye and face to face
He made my daughter laugh, then we embraced
We never knew what friends we had
Until we came to Leningrad
Point to ponder while you wander…
With so much ideological hating going on in the world…this song reminded me to remember this….”We never knew what friends we had Until we came to Leningrad”
I detest some of the ideologies out there in the world too. I am not ignorant of the violence and destruction. But the people are still God’s creation, that He loves. So pray big and be kind.
I like to hide. I like to hang back and watch, until I am sure about an activity or a group of people. I sometimes doubt if i should give the Word I am hearing or post what I’ve written.
But I also have this reassuring Voice of Truth inside me that says, “Do not fear.” & “Just do it, Jillian.”
This voice enabled me to Study Abroad in England at 21, alone. Road Trip for 3 weeks all by myself in my 30’s. Parasail on Lake Michigan. Share my heart and my struggles with strangers to encourage those who are struggling. Let go of jobs, my house, and people when it was time to move on. And most recently to be there with my grandparents as they left this world for Heaven.
Bravery isn’t just for running into burning buildings to save someone. It is required for seemingly simple, ordinary things. Speaking to a group of people. Taking a new job. Asking someone out. Ending a bad relationship. Telling someone about Jesus. Being honest with ourselves. Asking for help.
Fear is a bully and a liar. It prevents people from being honest and real with themselves and others. Fear says, “They’ll judge you. Fear says, “You can’t do it.” It says, “Don’t bother. You’ll just fail.”
Fear is a liar. The truth is…
You are a child of God.
“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.” I John 3:1 MSG
It’s okay to have weaknesses.
“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT
It is okay to fail.
Jesus knew that Peter would fail. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. Yet, Jesus chose him anyway. Jesus believed in him and prayed for him. Then, after Peter failed spectacularly, he regrouped with his people and Holy Spirit. THEN He preached in Jerusalem AND…”Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.” Acts 2:41 NLT
You Can, with Jesus’ Help
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 NLT
Bravery and boldness comes to us when we need it, when we know Who is with us, and what He did for us. You are never alone. You are never forgotten. You are never forsaken.
Something to ponder while you wander… “You make me Brave”
You may be the meekest and weakest, but God still believes in you. Let Him make you brave. Don’t believe me? Read Gideon’s story beginning in Judges 6. God found him hiding, and still called him a mighty warrior.
I’ve been playing Scrabble with my Nana since I was about 10 years old. I didn’t win a game until I was 19! Not a single solitary game. Nana never just let you win. She said, “You never learn or get better if someone just lets you win. It is about playing your best game whether or not you win. It is about learning new words and how to play strategically.”
So when I started jumping up and down, celebrating my first victory, she told me she wasn’t going to play with me anymore if this was my sportsmanship when I won. I have learned a lot from my Nana.
The best was when we could play on the deck when the weather was nice. I even made a Nana Playlist on my iPod of Glenn Miller Band, Bye Bye Birdie Soundtrack, Beach Boys and other oldies, silly songs, and Disney soundtrack tunes to listen to on those days. I’d crack up because inevitably she’d get up and start dancing when one of her favorite songs would come on.
I lost my Nana on March 11th. And the thing I will miss most this summer is those games and her dancing on the deck.
So in honor of her…here’s two of her favorite dancing songs from the Nana Playlist. I hope they inspire you to dance.
The Rivingtons- “The Bird is the Word”
Glenn Miller-“In The Mood“
On the way to work this morning I listened to “I Heard the Bells in Christmas Day,” and this just jumped out at me:
“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead nor doth He sleep. The wrong shall fail the right prevail, With peace on earth goodwill to men.”
After a night of little sleep, with a busy day ahead of me I needed that reminder! God is alive, alert, and knows exactly what’s going on in your life. And He cares about you and what’s happening. He will strengthen you if you ask Him too. He’s good like that!
“I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep. Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.” Psalm 121:1-3 MSG
Something to ponder while you wander…God does not sleep! God is not dead! He will strengthen you whenever and wherever you need it!
I love Chris Rice. I love his sense of humor. I love his lyrics that seem fun and random but are actually worship.
Today’s song is….Smell the Color 9
It’s for all those people who have asked me why I can hear God’s voice and they can’t. I don’t know why. But I do know that God is always speaking and seeking a relationship with you. I know He loves you as much as He loves me.
I have no magic formula for you, but I know He is as close as the air you breathe, so He’s not hard to find. I know is that God repeatedly says in His Word that when we seek Him we will find Him. I know He says to ask and you will receive. I know He loves you more than you can possibly fathom.
In John 10:27 Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” (ESV)
Even if you don’t hear Him speaking in your heart or audibly in your ears, He still speaks to you through His Word. It is available every second of every day. Studying His Word and following what it says is the best way to hear His voice.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12
His Word is THE guide. If someone ever tells you something that goes against the Word of God, listen to the Word, even if they are a pastor or a prophet. If you have a thought or hear a voice speaking to you, run it through the wisdom found in the 66 books of the library we call the Bible.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV
When I study the Word I ask God to show me something I’ve never seen before. And He does. Most of the revelation I’ve received comes this way.
Something to ponder while you wander…God wants you to know Him and He wants to share His wisdom with you. The entire Bible is about how much God loves people and Him pursuing a relationship with mankind.
PS With that in mind…remember God’s big enough for all your big questions and your true feelings. No matter what they are. On that topic…here’s a bonus Chris song…Big Enough
Do you want to be great? Guess what? God wants you to be great too! But He wants to partner in your greatness like he did with King David. David understood that his greatness and position came directly from God, and He gave Him the Glory for it.
“You empower me for victory with Your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness You strengthened me, and made me great!” Psalm 18:35 TPT
God made David great, and David turned around and recognized God’s greatness. He magnified Him. That’s what happens when we worship, God is magnified. God doesn’t change because of our worship, but our perspective of Him does. Worship reminds us that God is good, that He is for us, that Nothing is impossible for God.
This is for everyday, not just on Sunday mornings. It could be as simple as a “Thank you, Father.” or “I love you, Father.” in the middle of our hectic day. Or taking time in the morning to sit in His presence or dance with Him. You could even paint, shout, write, sing, or however you feel He should be honored that day.
“But let all who passionately seek you erupt with excitement and joy over what you’ve done! Let all your lovers rejoice continually in the Savior, saying, ‘How great and glorious is our God!” Psalm 40:16 TPT
I think Psalm 40:16, captures all this post is trying to say. That’s why today’s song is Great Are You Lord by All Sons and Daughters.
He gives life. He is love. He is the light in the darkness. Things to remember when you are facing death, feeling unloved, or anytime really.
Further reading: Psalm 48, Psalm 70:19, Psalm 76 and Psalm 104
Something to ponder while you wander: The Hebrew word translated great and glorious in Psalm 40:16 is gadal (H1431), can also be translated to make great or to magnify.
PS: Here’s A Bethel Worship Set starting with Great Are You LORD. The initial song is about 5 minutes or so, but the worship set is over an hour. The whole thing is about the greatness and awesomeness of our Papa God and His love, so I hope you’ll make the time to worship with the whole video.