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Musical Monday: Alive in You
I went to She is Free, a conference in NYC, in October. There we sang a song that resonated in my spirit. Didn’t thing to get the name of said song.
Got home. Couldn’t remember song. Was super sad about it.
Today I went online to buy some new tunes.
Found said song. Only took 2 months.
It’s called Alive in You. It is sung by the incredible Kim Walker Smith and Jesus Culture.
Point to Ponder While You Wander…Why is it that stupid songs get stuck in your head, but when you find one that feeds you on the inside you cannot remember it? Feel free to discuss with your people.
Gifted and Talented
Music. I love it. It is one of the greatest gifts God gave us. And the people who make the music, they are gifts too.
I’ve always desired to be musical. I joined band in elementary school. Probably the worst flutist ever to pick up the flute. I begged for a keyboard and piano lessons. I got the keyboard, but that whole two hands doing two separate things at the same time thing. Yeah. I cannot do that. I was in elementary school choir. I was in junior high choir too. In eighth grade, I was directed to sing so softly that I couldn’t be heard at a concert.
I realized then that maybe music wasn’t in the cards for me. Didn’t stop me from singing, I sing all the time. I also dance (AKA flailing) and paint (AKA creative therapy). But those are stories for another day.
What’s the my point? There is only one Kim Walker Smith. There is only one Martina McBride. There’s only one Natalie Grant. There’s only one Loretta Lynn. There’s only one Aretha Franklin. There is only one Doris Day. And there’s only one Jill Nicholson.
Jill Nicholson? Who’s that?
That’s me. I am Jill. I have gifts and talents chosen by God and entrusted to me to cultivate and grow. But for years I felt that because I couldn’t sing like I wanted, that I wasn’t talented at all. That is a lie straight from the enemy. Unfortunately, I believed it for too long and wasted years I could have been tending to the natural abilities I WAS entrusted with.
I believed the lie. So I took my ball and went home.
The parable of the talents comes to mind here because I did bury what I had inside and hide the talents I did have. I didn’t take photography classes because I was afraid I’d be told I wasn’t good at it. Then I couldn’t take photos anymore. I didn’t want a repeat of the choir concert incident. I only wrote for class assignments. Research papers and essays essentially. When I did write other things, I didn’t let anyone read them. I still struggle with letting people read my creative stuff.
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” John 12:24-25 MSG
I know the context of this verse is Jesus speaking about His upcoming death, burial, and resurrection. But this is what Jesus woke me up at 3:30 am to show me…If we take the gifts and talents that we have been entrusted with by God, both spiritual and natural, and we keep them to ourselves they are wasted. But if we take the time to develop them, and sow them into His kingdom, those gifts are multiplied beyond what we could ever imagine.
Nothing given to Jesus is ever wasted. It’s always multiplied in some way. I’m still chewing on this, because I know there’s more here, but this is initial revelation.
Point to ponder while you wander…Appreciate the gifts and talents in those around you, not be envious or jealous of them. Be grateful for the abilities YOU WERE given and be good stewards of them.
PS: Parable of the Talents is found in Matthew 25.
What Do You Want From Me?
What do You want from me God? Who am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to do? What’s my calling? What’s my purpose?
I’ve asked God (and sometimes screamed accusingly) these and many more questions. I just want to do what He made me to do. The simple general answer is found here: “What can we bring to the Lord? Should we bring him burnt offerings? Should we bow before God Most High with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:6-8
Okay, so He wants us to do right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly WITH Him. What exactly does that mean? How do we do that? Let’s so some etymology with verse 8. I love me some etymology.
Good: (H2896 towb) This word can be translated into good, kind, upright, beautiful, fair, cheerful, bountiful, joyful, pleasant, precious, sweet, wealth, and favor.
Requires: (H1875 darash) This word is interesting…the root is to tread down with the feet, or to trample. What do you do when you tread down? You walk over something again and again and again. It is also used as the verb to study. Which also means you do something again and again until it is learned. It can also mean to seek out God in prayer.
Right: (H4941 mishpat) The root word for this is to judge. It is usually translated judge or justice, lawful or something along those lines. KJV translates it justice.
Love: (H157 ‘ahab) Love. To have affection for.
Mercy: (H2617 checed) Kindness, faithfulness, benevolence, and mercy.
Walk: (H1980 halak) To go, walk, traverse, to move, manner of life, and live.
Humbly: (H6800 tsana) To show humility, be modest, act submissively.
The first thing that stands out to me in this whole group of words is the definition for require. It’s not a hey…this one time I need you to do this. It’s an all day, everyday, repeat performance. Consistency comes to mind here.
Consistency. Yeah. I’m not the best at that.
The second thing that stands out to me is love mercy. To have affection for here sounds like to get enjoyment out of or to be thrilled. TO LOOOOOOVE! So to have affection for being kind. To enjoy being faithful. To be thrilled about granting mercy or seeing mercy being granted.
Yeah. I need some work here too.
Humbly walk with God… to live a life consistently submitted to God. Sounds like obedience with a good heart attitude. I’m pretty sure there’s a verse or two that equates loving God as being obedient to His word. Yep. That makes me 3 for 3! Wooohoo! Work all around!
So you may be thinking “Hey…this is in the Old Testament…what does Jesus have to say about this?” Well…ask and you shall receive…This is Mark 12:28-34 NLT
“One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”
Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him,“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.“
Point to ponder while you wander…Life is a journey, folks. It doesn’t happen in one day. It happens daily and daily over the course of time. And in my experience, life with God boils down to this. Are you doing life WITH GOD? Have you allowed Him to love you and show you what His love is like? Pretty much everything starts there with that. Choosing to do life with God and choosing to let Him love you. Once that happens, you cannot help but to love other people.
Don’t beat yourself up with where you are or aren’t. Verses like these are the goal to work towards. In the meantime, let God love you and keep walking with Him. Being with Him and in His Word is what changes you. You just have to choose to show up consistently. Me, myself, I’m in the I’ve got God’s love now how in the world do I affect the world with it? phase right now.
The letting God love me part took 40 years. At this rate I will need the 120 years Moses had to really be effective. Haha. But seriously. Yeah. I really actually need those 120 years. And I need those 120 years to include divine health.
PS: Wondering about God’s will….Here you go.
Be Strong! Be Courageous!
Joshua is one of the people I continually go back to study. And one of the things that stands out to me is how many times God told Him the same thing. DO NOT FEAR. BE STRONG. BE COURAGEOUS.
Joshua was the military commander under Moses, and then promoted to lead all of Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua KNEW first hand the issues that Moses struggled. He was one of the two spies who stood against the other 10 in front of all the people. And he saw the people choose fear over faith. He sat in the desert for 40 years as those people died off. THEN God says, “Okay, Josh. Take the people in.”
“WHAT? Why me? These people? Seriously!?”
Those would be my thoughts.
But as I have learned. The faith walk is not for sissies.
Before Moses (at the age of 120 BTW) stepped down and went to Mt. Nebo, he spoke to the people:
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV
Then he called Joshua to him in front of all the people and repeated it to Joshua directly:
“Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:7-8 NKJV
Then you roll on into the book of Joshua, and the first thing written is what God spoke to Joshua after Moses died is…(drum roll please)…Do Not Fear. Yes, the exact same message again.
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: ‘Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.‘” Joshua 1:1-9 NKJV
Why? Fear is a sneaky punk. And it’s relentless in it’s efforts to make you live a pathetic small life. But God is bigger than fear. His love kicks fear’s ass every time. You just need to do your part and be bold and courageous.
Point to ponder while you wander…Today. Right now. In the decision you are about to make… Remember one thing. God has personally gone before you into the place He’s asking you to go.
Whisper of Peace
God Is Listening
King David wrote a good chunk of Psalms. He wrote in the desperate times, the good times, the perilous times, and basically every other time in his life.
Being a writer…I appreciate David’s vulnerability and his willingness to express it.
David would seek God when he was at the mercy of someone else’s choices (King Saul trying to kill him) and when his own choices caught up to him.
He never blamed God. He had a legit relationship with God, and understood who God is. God is merciful. God is ever present. He is persistent and consistent.
God never left David. Their relationship was permanent. God’s love unconditional.
When I’m struggling…I curl right up and live in Psalms. They remind me that the answer is always pray, trust God, and worship no matter what.
Why is that the answer? Because God is listening and loves me unconditionally, just like King David.
Point to ponder while you wander…
God is listening to you and will answer you…
“I will praise You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation.” Psalm 118:21 NKJV
“On the day I called, You answered me; And You made me bold and confident with [renewed] strength in my life.” Psalm 138:3 AMP
Please excuse the grainy, limited view photo, but I had to post about this lovely couple at work.
Sometimes it’s 11 am, sometimes 2 pm, but every single day they meet for a shared lunch. It’s always homemade and served family style. Sometimes they are fully engaged in conversation, sometimes not.
It makes my heart smile every day to see this couple carve out 20ish minutes in the middle of the work day to just be together and share a meal. ❤
“So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. There is no power above or beneath us – no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!” Romans 8:38-39 TPT
The love of God cannot lessen nor grow nor change. It is permanent and eternal. It is irrevocable. -Jill Nicholson
This is one of the things I have learned through the journey I am on. And honestly, if I never learn anything else, it is okay. This revelation is enough to feast on forever…
I am loved by love Himself. Nothing I do or do not do can affect Him loving me.
Point to ponder while you wander…You are loved with the same radical abandon as God loves Jesus. Believe it, because it is true.
Musical Monday-Shades of Grey
In continuation of my random post last week on my love for Davy Jones…here’s a few of my favorite Monkees’ songs. Part of the fun of the Monkees is that the videos are so fun and random. My inner kid still LOVES them.
Shades of Grey. I always thought it was a pretty song, but the older I get, the more I appreciate the meaning of the lyrics. It’s probably my favorite.
Gonna Buy Me A Dog. It’s funny. Listen to it.
And last but not least….Daydream Believer.