“Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance!
I just want to praise You! I just want to praise You!
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands!
I just want to praise You! I just want to praise You!”
This song by Mary Mary has been one of my all time favorite praise songs since I was in high school! As the years go by, the words have taken an even deeper meaning for me as I had to journey through life’s challenges and valleys.
“Everything that could go wrong
all went wrong at one time
so much pressure fell on me
thought I was gonna lose my mind
but Lord I know You wanna see
if I will hold on through these trials
but I need you to lift this load
cause I can’t take it no more”
We’ve all been there right? When everything thing that could possibly go wrong does. But you know what? Even then, in our darkest hour, God is is with us. Even when we feel alone and abandoned, the Lord is right there beside us.
“Been through the fire and the rain
bound in every kind of way
but God has broken every chain
so let me go right now”
Revelations 2:10 (NIV)Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
James 1:2-3 (NIV) Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
In these past 6 months, I had to leave all that I have ever known because I was not safe there. And the Lord has provided for me and my family beyond what I could ever have imagined. I did not step out in faith. I leapt. I jumped because I had to and the Lord caught me and has kept me safe. This is what it means to trust in the Lord and not rely on your own understanding or knowledge.
Isaiah 55:11 (MSG) “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.
So, whoever you are and wherever you are in this life, all that I can say to you, from one child of God to another, is that God is there for you now and forever. Amen.
“God is still speaking” (My mom’s handwriting in bisaya)
“Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2
Lord, be glorified in our hearts today. You are in heaven and we are on earth, so let our words be few as Your truth surrounds us today. Repair what is broken in us so that we can go boldly to Your throne and seize Your Word and never let it go.
Remind us that we were not born with fear. Fears are finite but God is infinite. So even though Your footprints are no longer on this earth, the imprint of Your spirit lives on within us in every moment of our lives.
You see what people can’t see. You see beyond the walls that we build. You see our hearts. You see us. Let us all just have an amazing encounter with You as Your story unfolds before us. The story of love and how love always wins, how love endures beyond the wreckage of time, and how God’s love will bring healing to all things.
Lord Jesus, You make the impossible possible. You transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. You breathe life into what was once dead. You see us, and You know us more than we know ourselves because You knew us before we took our first breath and You will be there with us when we take our last.
You, Jesus, are amazing, and we ask that whatever truth we need to hear from Your word, in this moment, be given to us as a gift from God. Let Your words just fall down from heaven and touch our hearts. “For, all people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24)
Move us, right now and right here, so that the words that we hear and say today will match the way we that live out our lives. Take away the hypocrisy of religion and pride by calling on all of us to love with the same love that forgave and released us from our own regrets, hatred and shame. Through You, Jesus, we are now free to love because You first loved us. That same love, the love of God, is present now and is available/accessible to us now, today and forever. So Lord, speak into our hearts so that we can also love all and condemn no one.
Yes, this life is challenging as the enemy stares us down, “but greater is He that lives in all of us than he that is of the world.” (1 John 4:4) Here is the reality that we can all embrace: The crucified and resurrected Christ frees us all from yesterdays mistakes so that we can be brave, we can be courageous, and we can truly and whole-heartedly live in the abundance of God’s favor, grace and love.
It’s never too late to accept Christ. It’s never too late to experience His love. All of the chaos in this world is silenced by His eternity for “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
Several years ago my best friends mom made these origami for me. She is no longer with us and I can now return these gifts to my best friend for her wedding.
Loving Creator, You gave each of us a mother that gave us life. No matter what, we must honor our parents by loving them as You, our Heavenly Father, love us. We can lift them up instead of bringing them down. We can be thankful for their contribution to our lives instead of forgetting them. We can also forgive them as we have been forgiven. Each of us has the opportunity to reflect God’s love to all people. So let’s love those that gave us life and give thanks to those who have nurtured, cared for, and taught us even if we were not their children. Let’s watch over every mother who is currently with child. And let us help strengthen their faith and the faith of those around them in the truth of Jesus Christ. And for the child that yearns for a mother that is not there, we pray that the church will rise up for those that cannot help themselves. And for those who grieve for a mother that has left this world, we ask that You keep the memories of love, family and honor ever etched into the memories of their children so that the love of God, that dwells in all of us, will always connect us and bind us together from generation to generation until the end of time. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of life and for the gift of those who raised us. As we honor them, we honor You. To God be the glory.
This was my twist on the popular love song “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts that I did at church for Valentines Day weekend as a way to say thank you to Jesus for always being my side through all of the ups and downs of my life.
I believe that everything that we experience, good and bad, simply leads us to His truth for our lives which includes all of the ups and downs and everything else in between. And as I get older, I can see that all of those times, places and people that maybe were not the most pleasant to experience, were merely preparing me to help find my way back to Him. And because of Him, I can forgive others as I have been forgiven because that burden is finally freed from my shoulder, so that I can really live this life in the way that He would want me to live. A life filled with grace that is sufficient for every possibility and circumstance that we will encounter on the road called life..
Yes, the road is broken but the journey always leads us back to confront the reality of the cross and the open arms of Jesus Christ. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (John 3:17).” So if we do not have condemnation from a God that could/should condemn us for our mistakes, then how could we condemn others? Can we forgive those who trespass against us as we have been forgiven by Almighty God? Yes, I believe that we can.
We can only share or gift something that we have an abundance of. We have an abundance of amazing grace, love and forgiveness, so let’s share that gift that was given to us on this broken road called life. We can’t run to Him by holding on to the baggage of yesterday, so let’s just let go and let God by following His truth and message; that all people are children of God, who are loved as His unique creation, and need to be treated with dignity, compassion and respect. Amen.
Lord God, we come into this place today so that we can quiet down the world and turn up the volume of Your Word for our lives. We come here today with so many questions and concerns that weigh heavy on our hearts, but there is one question that You have already answered loud and clear: Are we loved? You say yes, we are so loved by God that He sent His only Son to free us from all of the wrong choices and decisions of this world. And it is from that same love that we can have the strength to let go of what once was and be made new and alive in Christ. For there is no ceiling that can limit God’s love and there is no wall or door that can shut us out from His grace and mercy. Even as we break Your heart with our sins that tore a chasm between us Lord. It is Your Son, Jesus, who is the bridge between anything that would separate us from God. It is Jesus who is the source of our strength and the strength of our life. It is Jesus who allows us to live and dwell in the presence of the Lord. So we stand here, in the midst of our joys and sorrows, and claim Your Son as our Savior, Redeemer and Friend. Amen.
I decided to celebrate Cinco De Mayo by singing my all time favorite praise song “Shout to the Lord” by Hillsong. I sing in both Spanish and English. My spanish is not so good but I wanted to address the global body of Christ and the many languages that are used to praise His name. I wanted to use this song in particular because this is the song that brought me back to Christ.
See, I had left the church several years ago while I was still in my youth. I was angry, lost and confused. I had so many questions and just could not get the right answers. I started to go down a very dark path until one very fateful night.
My cousin and I, loved to, and still love to sing karaoke. We are filipino, after all, so that should be no surprise to anyone. Singing is part of our culture. We would stay up until sunrise singing any song imaginable. But sometimes it is in listening that we are able to be touched in a way that moves our heart and spirit.
My cousin just happened to have one of those WOW christian hits CD’s. And during a much needed break from our karaoke, she decided to play one of the songs from this CD while we were cleaning up from our two person Karaoke extravaganza. She knew that I wanted nothing to do with religion or anything of the church but she played it anyways. Sneaky but it worked!!!
This song moved me. It’s simplistic beauty and truth hit my heart like a ton of bricks and then the walls that I had built up around my heart came crashing down. I opened up my heart to Jesus that night and I have never looked back. Yes, life happens and there are still so many questions that I have. But He has answered the one question that I had been searching for: Am I loved? He says…“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3: 16-18 (The Message).
Lord Jesus, thank You for another day and another moment to be in Your presence. Ever since you touched our hearts, You gave us more than just dreams because You showed us what God can do and gave us all a reason to live. Lord, some of us are trying to deal with the weight of the world on our own. Remind us that even though we must walk through the dark valleys in this life we are never alone. So take away any of the doubts that we have and fill them with the truth of everything that You are. You are the hope, the way and light. Lord, You are everything that You that You say You are. Give us the wisdom to trust in You for all things and give us the strength to glorify You in all that we do. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being everything that You are. Thank You for this life. This journey that started at the foot of the cross: the place where all of the darkness of the world lost to the light of God’s amazing love. You gave us more than just words on a page, you showed us what God can do and gave us a reason to live. The world may bring us down but, because of You, we don’t need to stay there. Whatever issue we are going through, Your resurrection, allows us to go through life’s dark valleys without fear for You are always with us. Jesus, You are the song that opens up our souls to the story that is bigger than ourselves. Your life, death and resurrection gave us glimpses of our own humanity intertwined with the compassionate relationship with our Creator. Because of You, we live. Because of You, we can love. Because of You we have hope in the promise of never ever being separated from the Father’s love.
Lord God, our life and our eternity belong to You and to You alone. Open our eyes to see the glimpses of heaven all around us. Reveal the signs that lead us to the embrace of Your truth. You stepped into our story, those many years ago, so that the courage of God would be revealed in His Son as proof that God stands beside us throughout every joy and sorrow in this life. Help us to grab hold of Your promises that grace and forgiveness are real, so that we can have the courage to just show up in this life and stop performing with the crowd. Don’t let us see just want what we want to see, but expose what we need to see. We exist in the here and now but You, Lord, have always existed and the doors to Your love have always been open to us through Christ Jesus. We can’t wait for anyone to give us permission to practice our faith. We just need to live out our faith in Christ, anywhere and anytime. And whether or not the crowd jeers or cheers, we serve only Him today, tomorrow and forever.