Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Magnificat

I love to sing scripture. I have trouble memorizing scripture but put to music I can memorize all the day long! That's why I'm always happy to find some new song that has scripture as its lyric and this week I did.

We had a meeting for our HIP Praise Team (at SoHills) and our fearless leader, Bubba Luke, gave us some new music. One of the songs included was Magnificat. It has a lovely soprano part and all the voices work together singing different tunes and words to create the Magnificat.

So often in our tribes we leave out the ancient prayers and music that has been praising God for centuries. One of those is Mary's Song in Luke that is often referred to as the Magnificat. We love our contemporary music, rhythms, and harmonies - not that there's anything wrong with that! I have come to see the benefit of the ancient words and sounds for worship. Praise God for all the music and words the LORD has inspired over the centuries.

Like the Psalms and these words of Mary.

And Mary said:
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Watch Out for Number 3!

by Sarah Stirman

At a recent youth basketball game, I found new joy as a mother when I heard an opposing coach yell to his players, "Watch out for number 3! Watch out for number 3!" Since her first team as a 6 year old, my daughter has always requested to be number 3. Now at age 12, God has blessed her with height and talent. She has become a force to be reckoned with on the court. To hear the other coach acknowledge it and warn his team about her made my heart swell.
Shortly after that game my daughter chose to claim Jesus as her savior and be buried with Christ in baptism. There are no words to describe that particular joy as a parent! Watching my daughter become my sister in Christ, I thought back to the coach's warning to his team: "Watch out for number 3!" I pray that I have trained her to be a force to be reckoned with in His kingdom. I hope that Satan acknowledges her as a strong opponent to his evil. Above all, I hope that I model that for her: keeping my sword sharpened and ready for battle, ever kneeling at the throne to hear His word, knowing my "play book" better than my opponent does, and walking in the faith that will extinguish the enemy's flaming arrows.

The Holy Spirit breathing fresh life into her has given her a tangible passion and fire for the Lord and His work. As I send her off to school today, I know in my heart Satan is warning his team, "Watch out for number 3!" Wonder what Satan tells his team about me?
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Who Am I?

As most of us mentioned in our blog posts about our time hearing Beth Moore, the theme/ idea of the whole conference was to remind ourselves (DAILY): "I am an heiress." She told us to get up, first thing in the morning and look in the mirror and say to ourselves, "I am an heiress. I may be a little rough around the edges, but I am an heiress!" (keeping in mind it's first thing in the morning). I loved that she mentioned that she tells her husband Keith, who leaves for work before she is "fixed", "Remember how cute I was last night when we went to dinner? Or last week, in that precious skirt? I want you to think of me that way today. Not like this." I told Troy that last week when he left for work while I was staggering out of bed when Riley had a stomach bug. Glasses, furry robe, disheveled hair, and who-knows-what kind of breath. I told him to remember me cute! I'm sure that was a stretch for him -- and it was especially hard to look in the mirror and declare: "I am an heiress!"

That whole concept has been a struggle for me since Beth introduced it. Through words she said over that weekend, I came to realize that I don't doubt God's love for me in the least. I KNOW He loves me beyond what I will ever imagine. HOWEVER, I have come to realize I do doubt His ability to do things in me and through me. My doubts place my own human limitations on the creator of the universe. No, you don't have to do it: I'm 'tsk, tsk-ing' at myself. I evidently need to read this book. God able to use ANYone to do ANYthing is an idea/ concept that I have given lip-service to all of my life, as well as even seen in action, but my flesh, fears and doubts override that too often. I have de-valued my place in His kingdom. I have traded my birthright as an heiress for a little bowl of security stew here on earth.

With this thought in my head, God has really been hammering me with who I am in Him. And, being like He tends to be, He is ever-so-subtle about it. I was just plugging away, daily Bible reading, going in my little order, and here I land in 2 Corinthians this week. Love both of the Corinthian letters. And God used 2 Corinthians, letters that have been in His word for thousands of years, to remind me who I am through Him.

I first thought of it when I hit one of my all-time favorite verses, 2:14:

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and
through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.

  • So... I am the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.

    Verse 3 of chapter 3 says:
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written
not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but
on tablets of human hearts.
  • I am a letter -- from Christ himself!

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being
transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the
Lord, who is the Spirit.
  • I reflect the Lord's glory.

For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your
servants for Jesus' sake.

  • I preach Christ as Lord, and preach myself as your servant.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus
may also be revealed in our body.

  • I carry the death of Jesus in my body so that the LIFE of Jesus may be revealed (this one is HUGE to me).

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by

  • I am being renewed day by day (it doesn't matter that I am STILL screwing up -- I'm also still being made new!!)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the
new has come!

  • I am a new creation (can I get a 'hallelujah'!!)

We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal
through us.

  • I am an ambassador for Christ.
Oh, gracious, I am overwhelmed with all that the Lord has entrusted to me. Oh, and I was reminded yesterday: God is not just good, he's smart. I really had to think on that one... and since he's smart, I guess it's okay to trust all that He has entrusted to me. And KNOW that I will mess it up. And KNOW that He will forgive, and bless, and grow me, for I am being made new day by day.

May you find who you are in Him.