creation, creative, create, gift, salvation, worship, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Gift: Remembering the Intricate Work of God’s Hands

Our human hands can create such beautiful things. But nothing compares to the intricate work of God’s hands or His beautiful gift of salvation.



I have made the earth and created humans on it. It was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded everything in them. 

Isaiah 45:12, CSB

I am amazed by what our human hands can invent, create, build, design, craft, and even restore. Our hands have the ability to do so many wonderful things. It blows my mind how a surgeon’s hands can heal the inside of someone’s body.

I’m speechless when I see a piece of architecture beautifully designed and brought into existence by human hands. It’s truly an incredible gift to have the unique capability to use our hands to create things that bring us joy, comfort, and help.

Our human hands can create such beautiful things. But nothing compares to the intricate work of God's hands or His beautiful gift of salvation. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #create #creation #gift #salvation

God’s Hands Create

With all these amazing things our human hands can muster up, some things remain untouched by our hands. The planets and stars in the universe, the oceans, the mountains, and the spirit inside of us are just a few examples.

 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1, CSB

This allows us to know that we, and the beautiful world around us, were handcrafted by our Creator. God’s hands have done a perfect work and He alone has accomplished it all.

We are creatures made to create just like our Creator. Whether we use our hands to produce art, write, farm, build, craft, sculpt, dig, fix, measure, or sew. No matter what we choose to do with our hands, we still are unable to create EVERYTHING! Why do you think God designed it this way? I personally think He did this to show that He is in complete control.

Making Idols

When we marvel at the works of our own hands, we can easily idolize and forget where our ability to create came from.  

Their land is full of idols, they worship the work of their hands, what their fingers have made.

Isaiah 2:8, CSB (emphasis added)

God sees all, knows all, and creates all. He knows when we forget where our abilities came from. And He calls us out when we do. As God’s people, we are called to understand His divine mystery behind creation. Simply by acknowledging at our highest intelligence, we still cannot create the heavens, the earth, or even the stars in the sky.

Safe Hands

The hands God gave us, create many good and useful things. They also create many evil and sinful things. Satan will use his deceiving, sneaky hands to tempt us with sin. He corrupts our minds and hearts faster than we can blink. This deception begins chasing after us the moment we’re born. We, as God’s children, are not immune to Satan’s conniving schemes. We are very much prone to wander as the hymn suggests. 

As Children of God, we must be aware of this and do whatever seems necessary to keep ourselves from falling into Satan’s trap. Satan’s hands, like our own, were created by God. I know, kinda mind-boggling isn’t it?

Many people, including myself, at one point or another, have wondered why God allowed the devil to even come into existence. This is such a good question that requires much knowledge and wisdom to comprehend. We can’t expect to understand the answer to this without seeking to know who God is first.

To know God is to know His son, Jesus Christ. If you want to get to know anyone better, then you need to establish a relationship with them, right? Otherwise, how will you learn who they truly are? We are incapable of understanding these profound mysteries we crave to know, without establishing a relationship with Jesus. Holding hands with Jesus is the only way we can stay safe against the devil and his demons.

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.

John 10:28, CSB

Hands that Heal

There is a story I love in the Bible that is found in John 9. Jesus bends down to use his hands to spit and stir up the dirt to create a substance that would heal the sight of a blind man. Just like the blind man in the story, we have been blind in our lives.

We need a Savior’s hands to wipe us clean so we can see HIS way instead of our own. Jesus didn’t use clean water to heal the blind man; He used mud in the ground that was made from His spit! I believe He did this to show His followers that He, and only He, has the ability to use our filthy sin and make something good come from it.

The Gift

I was once dead in my trespasses and now I am alive in Christ. My guilt and shame are the very things Jesus used to humble and restore me. When I was confronted with my sin, I immediately became aware of my need for Jesus.

Jesus was sent to us from God as a precious gift for us to observe and follow. He is the example and role model we are supposed to seek in order to understand how to navigate this life correctly. Without Jesus, we go through life blindfolded, having to feel our way through with our own hands.

My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being. This is the Lord’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word.

Isaiah 66:2, CSB

Jesus’ Hands Paid The Price

Creation is a magnificent use of God’s hands. But the most amazing use of God’s hands is found on that rugged cross. Jesus’ hands were nailed to the cross so ALL would see! The same hands that healed the blind and calmed the storms are the very same hands put on full display to show God’s love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and good news.

Oh, but we serve an even greater God than this! His love didn’t stop there; It went all the way to the grave where Jesus resurrects from the dead to reveal the very same holes in his hands from that historical day. What better use of His hands? God made a way for His children to find the light in a dark world that separates us from Him. I can’t think of anything better! The love God has for His children is always seen in His hands…

The same hands that calmed the storms are the very same hands put on full display to show God’s love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and good news. Oh, we serve a great God! His love went all the way to the grave for us. Click To Tweet

Lift Up Your Hands

God’s hands hold us when we are crying.

His hands mend our broken hearts and restore our souls.

God’s hands heal us and save us from Hell.

His hands mark the starting point to where our salvation is found.

Today believer, I implore you, to lift up those beautiful, hardworking, helpful, creative, useful hands of yours and worship in awe our Glorious God above! Let’s fold our hands in prayer and thank Him for the wounds His hands endured so we could have the gift of everlasting life with Him. This is the best gift we will ever receive… Hands down!!!

With Folded Hands, I Pray

Oh Lord Help Me to see that your hands are not my own. Help me to use my hands in a way that will glorify you and make your name be known. Teach me to follow Jesus in all my ways and seek to know Him more.

Thank you for the sacrifice your hands endured for me upon the cross. I am so undeserving of this free gift of salvation, but I receive it with a full and thankful heart.

Help guide me Lord to show love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness with my own two hands the way you did with yours. I lift up my hands today and surrender my life into your hands, God. In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

Our human hands can create such beautiful things. But nothing compares to the intricate work of God's hands or His beautiful gift of salvation. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #create #creation #gift #salvation
Amaury Salas

Christmas, Jesus, miracle, worship, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Magic: Remembering the Miracle of Christmas All Year

Christmas does not end on December 26. The magic of Christmas, the miracle and mystery of Jesus can be celebrated every day, all year long. 



I know it sounds a little funny reading a Christmas post at the end of January. Many people have put Christmas behind them. The tree and lights are stored away; the stockings are no longer hung. The Christmas cookies and leftovers have long disappeared and all the candy canes are on clearance.

It is 2019, and now our minds are set on the new year, new beginnings, improving our lives and trying new things. We set lofty goals and resolutions as we send our kids back to school for a new semester (some with new shoes). The grocery store aisles are packed with red and pink hearts and even St. Patrick’s Day decor. The radio stations are back to playing their “normal” songs. The Baby in the manger lays forgotten in a closet until next year.

Christmas does not end on December 26. The magic of Christmas, the miracle and mystery of Jesus can be celebrated every day, all year long. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #encouragement #Christmas #Jesus #miracle #worship

Lasting Magic

Yet we don’t have to forget. What if Christmas kept going all year round? I’m not talking about the stress of Christmas – the shopping, wrapping, baking and elf-hiding. It’s the magic, the mystery and the wonder lasts through January, February and all year long.

I want to focus on a unique aspect of the Christmas Story, the Wise Men, also called “Magi.” Who were these mysterious foreigners, and how did a single star lead them to Jesus?

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’

Matthew 2:1-2, NIV

The Wise Men were magicians, sorcerers and foreigners from the East. We know that they did not previously know or worship God. Yet, they came to Jesus.

They came to see The One whose power and majesty far outweighed any wisdom or magic trick they could concoct. They knew He was special, and they knew He was worth their time. These foreign magicians knew He was God Eternal, the Everlasting King.

The Wise Men saw all of this in a single star, which led them to bow before a tiny little Baby.

Lasting Mystery

Matthew, Jesus’ disciple and author of this book, originally wrote to a Jewish audience. He was very intentional on multiple occasions to demonstrate how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah. 

In Jewish times, people who were Gentile (foreigner or non-Jews) were considered unclean and unholy. Why would Matthew make sure to document to a primarily Jewish audience, that these non-believers from another land came to worship Jesus?

And better yet, why would God call these men from far away when they were not His people? Why did foreign magicians have such a crucial role in the Christmas story?

God does not think the way we think. Or even the way we want Him to. God caused Gentile men, who did not know Him, to travel to the country of Israel, to the rundown town of Bethlehem in order to worship Him, as a baby.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9, NIV

Lasting Majesty

Another significant person in the Christmas account actually lived 700 years before Jesus was even born: Isaiah. Isaiah was a prophet of God to the people of Judah during the reigns of four different Jewish kings. In Isaiah 6, we read about an incredible encounter Isaiah has with Jesus on the throne.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Isaiah 6:1-3, NIV

Isaiah later gets the famous message that we hear at every Christmas pageant and see on many Christmas cards.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6, NIV

Isaiah saw the majesty of the Lord, both in His heavenly form on His throne, and in His human form, as a baby. Both are majestic, and both are holy.

As we look at the Baby in the manger, we can remember that God chose the unlikely foreigners to lead the way in worship. We can stare at the mystery and magic of His birth and remember that God’s ways are higher than our own. Even when we read Matthew’s recount of the story or Isaiah’s prophetic words, we rejoice, that the grace of God cuts through cultural barriers, and systems.

Lasting Trust

Most of us do not feel like Wise Men, but we might feel like outsiders. We can trust, that the Light of God will lead us to Jesus, no matter where we have come from.

We can trust that He is worthy of our time, worthy to be worshiped, no matter what the world looks like around us.

When we see that little Baby in the manger and when God’s ways don’t make sense, we can rejoice with the angels. We can declare, “Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty, ” because that is who He is.

We can trust, that the Light of God will lead us to Jesus, no matter where we have come from. We can trust that He is worthy of our time, worthy to be worshiped, no matter what the world looks like around us. Click To Tweet

Christmas does not end on December 26. The magic of Christmas, the miracle and mystery of Jesus can be celebrated every day, all year long. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #encouragement #Christmas #Jesus #miracle #worship

unsplash-logoSimon Matzinger

pride, worship, focus, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Pride: Resolving to Correct Misplaced Worship to Fulfill God’s Purpose

Pride wears many faces. It is a sneaky thing that isn’t all bad but can quickly become a monster if it is misplaced. To fulfill God’s purpose, we must lay down those things we place above Him. 



I asked the following question to a mixed group of folks, (some claiming Christ, others who do not), ranging in age from 11 to 70…

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think about pride?

  1. Feeling good about yourself.
  2. Lions.
  3. Being proud of yourself and where you came from.
  4. In your head; selfish.
  5. Handling big things on your own. Getting a handle on it, trying to wrap it up pretty, then presenting an incomplete and shallow lie. Then wondering why it’s falling apart.
  6. Honor and dignity, and when all is lost you don’t back down or stop trying.
  7. Mega-nationalism; egotism.
  8. The root of all evil.
  9. Self.
  10. When you have faith in yourself or something else.
  11. The belief that I am self-sufficient and can be an everywhere it all, fix it all and know it all.
  12. Fall—as in it comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18).
  13. Men.
  14. Confidence; strong ethics.
  15. Arrogance and self-focus; but also positive in a way like confidence. Like doing something well.
  16. Self-consumed, lifting oneself up, thinking your wisdom is superior.

Pride wears many faces. It is a sneaky thing that can quickly become a monster if it is misplaced. We must lay down the things we place in front of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Focus

I found the variety of responses fascinating. Modern society teaches love yourself more. Evangelical culture preaches be filled with God’s love. But where the Western world falls short, spouting off “Jesus loves you” somehow fails to produce change. It doesn’t delve deep enough. I agree with how one author addresses this issue:

The love of God can be a profound answer to just about any human struggle, but sometimes we can use it in such a way that it becomes a watered down version of profoundly rich truth. For example, sometimes, because of shortcomings in us rather than Scripture, this answer misses the call to “consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3), or it ignores personal repentance. Sometimes it still allows us and our needs to be at the center of the world, and God becomes our psychic errand boy given the task of inflating our self-esteem.

Edward T. Welch, When People Are Big and God is Small

At the end of the day, it is about what and who we worship. What is most important? Comfort? Recognition? Peace? Power? All of those point back to self. As followers of Christ, anything we revere more than Him will ultimately be torn down. It is not for meanness sake, but because God’s purpose for those He created is to reflect Him.

Survey

Lately, I have been inundated with the topics of pride and humility. They are in the books I’m reading, the lectures I’m watching, and the sermons on Sundays. Uh…I hear you, God; loud and clear. Last week I filled out a pride and humility survey. Yeah, it’s a thing.

In the past when I completed personal assessments similar to this, I either felt weighed down by my ineptness or gratified with my growth. Ironically enough, both responses are manifestations of pride. Feeling burdened by my short-comings keeps the focus on me and does not honor God. Nor does it seek to be molded more into His image.

While it is good to be remorseful over my pride, I mustn’t stop there. The next step is repenting and asking God to keep working in me to do away with it! Feeling content with my progress in humility is still pride. But praising God for continuing to create a good work in me is worshipful.

Feeling content with our progress in humility is still pride. But praising God for continuing to create a good work in us is worshipful. Click To Tweet

Pride

So, are all forms of pride bad? No; but there is a micro-fine line between righteous boasting and every other self-focused version. God said it first to the people of Judah through Jeremiah.

This is what the Lord says: The wise person should not boast in his wisdom; the strong should not boast in his strength; the wealthy should not boast in his wealth. But the one who boasts should boast in this: that he understands and knows me—that I am the Lord, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the Lord’s declaration.

Jeremiah 9:23-24, CSB

It pleases God when we brag about His power! Paul reiterated God’s instruction in both of his letters to the Corinthians.

Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world—what is viewed as nothing—to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one may boast in his presence. It is from him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became wisdom from God for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that, as it is written: Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:27-31, CSB

So let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. For it is not the one commending himself who is approved, but the one the Lord commends.

2 Corinthians 10:17-18, CSB

Worship

Having a mind focused on God, the One in Whom all things are from, through, and to (Romans 11:36), fights against selfish pride. It is okay to feel good about ourselves when viewed rightly through the lens of God’s work in us. There is nothing wrong with having an appreciation for where we came from—understanding God is the One who birthed us into that place. It’s alright to be pleased with our own or someone else’s accomplishments, as long as we acknowledge it is God who works through us for His good purpose.

Exhibiting honor, dignity, and confidence isn’t a recipe for unholy pride. Jesus was confident in the Father, and He taught the highest principles of loving God and loving others. He accomplished the most honorable mission of all time by taking on human form, living a perfect life, dying a horrific death, and raising from the dead so we could be redeemed.

Jesus did not back down because He was God—He didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped (Philippians 2:6). No, Jesus didn’t back down because He wholly trusted the Father to complete His work through Him. It’s the tiniest tweak that makes all the difference, but it’s monumental. It really is all about what and who we worship. Let us resolve to pledge our reverence to the King!

Pride wears many faces. It is a sneaky thing that can quickly become a monster if it is misplaced. We must lay down the things we place in front of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

surrender, striving, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, mentor, ministry

Surrender: Focusing Our Hearts and Eyes On the One Who Calls

Jesus isn’t after our successes, but our hearts of surrender. When we fix our eyes on Him, all the BIG things simply become One thing.



What are we called to? As Christians, what are we really called to?

I have spent a ton of time asking God for “my calling.” What is the one big major thing He has for me? What is the one thing only I can do? The big dream of God’s heart that nobody else wants?

You see, for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to do BIG things. When I was a kid, my sister and I had an entire imaginary world, in which we were the most famous kids. At age 10, I began writing a parenting book. By the time I was fifteen, my 10-year plan included being a Broadway star, with a wealthy business husband and 3 residences, at 25 mind you. I was serious.

In love with the stage (and myself), I lived for recognition and dreamed of a future littered with public speaking accolades. I was ready to make my mark on the world, whatever it took. I held on tight to Philippians 4:13, because I believed I could do all things, nothing was impossible, and Jesus would help me succeed. As I write these words, I am shaking my head and laughing at my young “innocent” views on life and God.

During my college years, God really got a hold of my heart like never before. My dreamer spirit didn’t die, but my dreams radically changed. Now, I wanted to do big things for God. Dreams of being part of foreign missions, non-profits and every ministry possible began to form in my mind. I went on several overseas mission trips, worked with the poor in my own city, served in my church and eventually (finally!) my husband and I moved overseas as long-term missionaries.

I felt I was living the dream, doing all the stuff, all the big things God cares most about, the stuff no-one else is willing to do! Even though I thought I had arrived, God knew, this was only the beginning of our journey. After a short year and a half, we were back in the States, and I found myself, again, asking God about my calling. He faithfully answered, as He showed me, little by little, what true surrender looks like. Dreaming with God is wonderful thing, but we cannot lose sight of our true purpose.

Surrendering Dreams

So, what are we called to? As Christians, what are we really called to? Love one another? Live generously? Forgive seventy times seven? Feed the poor, heal the sick, care for orphans, clothe the needy? No. Our call is not just about actions. It’s not just about the mission. It’s not just about doing stuff for God. Our call is about a person. I am a Christian because I am totally in love with Someone. The One called Jesus. The question isn’t what are we called to do? Rather, Who are we called to live for? Who are we called to?

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.

Psalm 27:4

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Psalm 84:10

This is the heart of surrender I long for! I long to say, “Jesus, it’s not about me or what I do. It’s all about you! I just want to be with you, whatever you do. Wherever you are.”

Jesus isn't after our successes, but our hearts of surrender. When we fix our eyes on Him, all the BIG things simply become One thing. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Surrender and Abandon

Abandon. We are called to abandon. Total and utter dependence on Him. An unshakable “yes”, to surrender. To Him. No matter the convenience level, no matter the cost. We are His. This life isn’t about me. It isn’t about my family or my church. It’s not about us at all. It isn’t even about others, not even the least of these.

It is about Him. Jesus. High Priest and King. Sacrifice. Lamb of God. Lord of all lords. It is all, every moment, every day, every dream, desire, call is about Him. Him and only Him. Jesus Christ.

Can I live truly abandoned when following Jesus doesn’t look like I expected or when it is hard to get up in the morning? Can I live fully abandoned when I don’t see ANY of the glam and glory of doing “big things” for God?

Right now, His big calling in my life is three little people and a man pouring his life out in a “regular” job. Maybe my calling is a neighbor who just needs a friend, or the stranger at the grocery store. Possibly, God is drawing me towards the mom friend who is overwhelmed, or the babysitter who may just need a hug.

What does saying “yes” to God every day really look like? Can I be content with the lot God has given me? Truly, this is what Philippians 4:13 is about. Contentment. Not success, as the world sees it.

Abandon. We are called to abandon. Total and utter dependence on Him. An unshakable “yes”, to surrender. To Him. Click To Tweet

Contentment in Surrender

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

True contentment can only come in true surrender, to the Person of Jesus. God measures success in our number of “yeses”, not our number of medals and degrees.

So, what is the one thing only I can do? Only I can love Him for me. Only I can worship Him for me. Only I can sit at His feet as me. Nobody else can take my place in loving Jesus. This is the one calling. It’s not a thing. It’s a Person.

Jesus isn't after our successes, but our hearts of surrender. When we fix our eyes on Him, all the BIG things simply become One thing. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

All scripture references come from the NIV Bible.
focus, dream, purpose, mission, worth, value, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry

Focus: The Most Important Step When Pursuing Our Purpose and Mission

We need to be careful not to do this with our focus when we are pursuing dreams and fulfilling the purpose we believe we were meant to fulfill.



I was feeling  discouraged. Why is it so difficult? Why, Lord? Then I heard in my spirit, “Rachael, stop trying to get everyone to like you. Love them, be kind to them, but how people respond to you or feel about you, is not your concern.” Ok, fine.

My longing and discouragement was deeper than that, though. So I made a decision. Instead of powering through and acting like I have my act together, putting on a show in front of the One who knows me intimately, I got honest. (Yes, sometimes my actions show that I believe I can actually fool the Lord. Ridiculous, I know.)

But what about you, Lord? Do you approve of me? Are you proud of me? I know I am approved, as in I know I am loved and am a child of You, the King. But do you approve of what I’m doing? I need something here, Lord! I’m not doing this for popularity, or something to keep me busy. I’m doing this because I have followed the direction of Your Holy Spirit one scary step at a time. Now I am in this place, and I’m wondering if I took a wrong turn somewhere.

A couple hours went by while I replenished my low endorphin supply with exercise. When I returned to my phone, a few confirmations were waiting for me. Validation. “Yes, what you are doing has worth. Yes, you are valued.”

Driving back home, I was feeling lighter, and it was not just because of the endorphins. It honestly made me feel special that the Lord, the Creator of the Universe, truly cares about each of us intimately. My hurt was seen, and He knew I was in need of Fatherly encouragement.

We need to be careful not to do this with our focus when we are pursuing dreams and fulfilling the purpose we believe we were meant to fulfill. #dreams #purpose #mission

Focus on the mission…

Then, later in the afternoon, the reminder came of why He has led me on this path. Turns out, it is not about me feeling valued, it about others knowing their value. This mission I am on is not about me, or getting that pat on the back. This mission is about finding freedom, and joy, and hope. It’s about people becoming – truly becoming – who they were created to be.

Yes, I love approval, who doesn’t enjoy a good compliment? It is so easy to get sucked into the mindset of it being about me. Almost 100% of the time, when I begin to feel discouraged, or insecure, it is because my focus has shifted to where it does not belong.

It is the Lord who fulfills me. It is this mission that makes me feel alive. The Lord is who brings me joy, the mission brings purpose. I love this mission I am on, and I believe I am doing what the Lord wants me to do. But more than that, He wants my heart. Only when He has all of my heart does He reveal the next step to take in pursuing mission and purpose.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:33, ESV

We need to be careful not to do this with our focus when we are pursuing dreams and fulfilling the purpose we believe we were meant to fulfill. #dreams #purpose #mission

Focus on our purpose…

Purpose looks different for each of us, and this is so beautiful to me. But I do forget it at times. Sometimes I think everyone has the same purpose as myself, and then I feel like, why bother – she has so much more talent, she knows more people, she, she, she…

In actuality, if we stop looking at other people, and look to our Creator, we will find our own specific purpose and see how it all works together to glorify the Lord. We will see the value each of us hold, and how we need one another. We will be fulfilled by the Lover of our soul, be confident in the value we have, and motivated by the purpose we have been given.

God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

1 Corinthians 12:6, NLT

If we stop looking at other people, and look to our Creator, we will find our own specific purpose and see how it all works together to glorify the Lord. Click To Tweet

Focus on The Lord…

What is your mission? What dreams are you pursuing? And what purpose makes you feel alive?

Remember that the mission you are on does not define who you are. It is not your identity, or where you find your worth. If you find yourself holding on too tight to the dream that was place in your heart, I urge you to take a moment, and evaluate where your focus is, and where it needs to be. Yes, we are created for good works, but we are first created to worship.

xoxo

necklace, silver, loved

Sharon McCutcheon

dance, worship, faith, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry

Dance: An Invitation to Experience the Joy of Worship in Faith

In this dance of faith, we don’t have to have all the right moves; if we simply follow the Lord’s lead, we’ll experience the joy of worship.



One of my earliest memories is of sitting in a neighbor’s living room and watching Shirley Temple tap and twirl across the television screen. I was mesmerized. I had never seen anyone dance like that, let alone a little girl who looked my age. She moved so gracefully and with such joy! The vision of that tiny dancer struck a chord somewhere deep down inside of me.

Musical Roots…

My family lived off the grid before the term “off the grid” really existed. Even though we didn’t have electricity, running water, or modern conveniences, we were rich in music and dance! In his youth, my dad had been a prodigy on the violin and could play just about any instrument he picked up. Before homesteading and raising kids, in her former life, Mom had been an Off Broadway actress and classically trained opera singer. Our musical roots ran deep, and the family songs we composed comprised our only form of homemade entertainment.

Family Hootenannies…

I loved it when of an evening, after the dinner dishes were done, Dad would push the kitchen table against the wall. If he cleared that “dance floor,” a family hootenanny was about to break out! He’d start to pluck and strum his small classical guitar. When he and Mom bought that little instrument at a pawn shop in New York City’s Lower East Side, they probably never guessed it would make its debut in a small shack in Southern Indiana! As Dad played, he and Mom would sing while all four of us kids joined in.

The rhythm section consisted of metal table spoons that we clasped between our fingers, tapping them between our cupped hands and laps. Mom would bust out her zils, or finger cymbals, a carryover from her old belly dancing days. More than likely, the tambourine and harmonica would make an appearance before it was all said and done. As new believers, my folks surely did not get everything right about the Bible. But when it came to singing and dancing as a form of worship, they were right in step with the psalms.

Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.

Psalm 149:3, KJV

In this dance of faith, we don't have to have all the right moves; if we simply follow the Lord's lead, we'll experience the joy of worship. #dance, #faith, #worship

The Sweetest Music to My Ears…

I couldn’t sit still through the first chorus before I was out on the “dance floor” with what I’m sure were some enthusiastic homemade moves. I’d try to mimic what I had seen Shirley Temple doing with her feet. One evening, a couple joined us for dinner and stayed for some of our after dinner “entertainment.” Afterward, they kept remarking that the steps we were doing looked a lot like the Appalachian clog dancing they were learning. They were taking lessons in the nearby town and suggested that we might like to join them. Soon after their visit, my dad told me we were all going to start taking clogging lessons. His words were the sweetest music to my ears, and they ushered in nearly a decade of dance.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:… A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4, KJV

Through It All, I Danced…

I thank God for that season of dance. It was filled with deep sorrow, but the Lord had given me a gift to carry me through it. I danced through the devastation of my parents’ divorce. Through the empty pangs of hunger that one meal a day–the free lunch at school–could not fill. Through the grief of my dad’s untimely death. He always said he hoped he’d die dancing, and one night at a local line dance, that’s how he passed. As if caught in a dizzying contra dance, spinning from one partner to the next, I danced through a disorienting shuffle: moving in and out of six different families’ homes by the time I graduated high school. Through it all, I danced.

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.

Psalm 30:11, KJV

The Magic of the Dance…

I remember long afternoons that turned into late nights pounding out beats on the hard concrete floor of my friend Chris’ basement. A national championship under his belt, Chris proved not only to be an amazing dancer but teacher as well. He patiently broke down each step into smaller movements, which we repeated over and over until it became second nature. That’s when the magic of the dance began. I was no longer thinking about each shift of weight, each toe ball heel combination. The movements just started to flow out of me. For the first time, it felt easy and fluid, and fun! What had begun as a frustratingly mechanical process became an exhilarating experience of movement and joy!

The Clunky Walk of Faith…

This progression describes my walk of faith as well. For many years, I have felt like a clunky beginner, tripping over my own feet. My spirit is ready and willing. It longs to sashay through life, trusting that my Father will always catch me when I fall. But my flesh doesn’t follow suit. It wants to rehearse each step before I take it, to rehash old missteps, to mistrust my partner, to complain that the choreographer’s routine is too complicated. But then there are those times when I’m blissfully lost in the dance of faith. When I’m moving freely in the spirit, it all feels so effortless. When I let Him take the lead, I feel like I can fly.

But then there are those times when I’m blissfully lost in the dance of faith. When I’m moving freely in the spirit, it all feels so effortless. When I let Him take the lead, I feel like I can fly. Click To Tweet

The Joy of Worship…

Whether it’s dance or any other form of expression, I know God created us to experience the joy of worship. One afternoon my husband and I were playing an outdoor concert with our old bluegrass band. As I looked out at the audience on a beautifully sprawling lawn covered by a grove of huge old oak trees, I saw one of the most simple, joyous sights I’ve ever been blessed to behold.

Directly in front of the stage was a throng of about 50 children dancing with reckless abandon. Those sweaty little bodies and the bright spirits within them were not concerned about how they looked, whether they were on the beat, off the beat, or even had a beat. And they weren’t worrying about whether they were doing it “right.” They were simply moving with the music and experiencing joy. And isn’t our faith suppose to look like that of the little children?

Invite to the Dance…

It can feel paralyzing if we don’t know all the right moves. We can hold back and not even think about stepping on the dance floor of our lives. But when it comes to our faith and our worship, God is not interested in perfect execution. He considers the state of our heart toward Him. There is freedom in this dance of faith. If we simply incline our hearts and minds toward the Lord, He shows us when and how to move. He shows us whom to partner with, which wall flower to invite off the bleachers and onto the floor. He chaperones us away from the sin that entices us down the wrong path. After all, He is the Maestro, the choreographer, and we all have an invite to the dance. It’s when we accept the invitation, when we show up, that we experience the magic.

How do you express your worship? When was the last time you danced?

In this dance of faith, we don't have to have all the right moves; if we simply follow the Lord's lead, we'll experience the joy of worship. #dance, #faith, #worship

Gaelle Marcel