How to Start Over…and Smile

As I was watching the movie Internship, it made me think about my experience starting over which led me to search for  For King and Country’s song “Fix My Eyes”.

Video by zmzhong7

 I love this song! It really speaks to my life after being born again and it was a song I heard not long after God called me out of the classroom to go into ministry.  The words to this song are amazing because it’s a message to self acknowledging the way I was is no longer how I can be. Going forward, I will fix my eyes on Jesus.

“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Isaiah 42:9

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

Reading these scriptures help me remember how far God as brought me. I can recall, a year ago as I was walking through the airport in Arizona with tears streaming down my face, I was so disappointed and sad to leave teaching internationally to return home. (Little did I know but God was getting ready to completely change my life for the better but, in order to do so it meant I had to let go of the life I was living to receive the new one He was offering.) In the final weeks of the school year, I heard God call me back home to Kansas. It was one of those moments where I was glad to hear Him speak but I did not like what He had to say (hey, just being honest). I wanted Him to speak to me and lead me but I wanted something different, more pleasant, fun or at least let me know for how long but no, I was just called home. As a sat there waiting for my flight, I began chatting with two other ladies and the tears continued to fall, partly out of sadness but they were also the result of fear. The ladies were kind and asked what was wrong, so I shared with them I was headed home after being gone for 9 years, how I felt like a failure for having to go home, I did not have a job lined up and now I would have to move back home after just spending the last year living on my own. Both ladies were super sweet, telling me things would be okay and to trust God. One lady proceeded to tell me how she had done the same thing years before and she was only home for a short time, met her now husband, has children and completely appreciates that time she spent back at home. Her words gave me hope, I then began to reason with God making a request for the life this lady had while still struggling with reality.

After the ladies and I went our separate ways and I carried their words of encouragement with me, hoping to be able to relate to them one day. As I continued on my journey, I passed by a shop with this magnet:

I thought…what? Why would a caterpillar think the world is over? Does it not know what is suppose to happen after it stays in the crysalis? But as I questioned this magnet I also prayed Lord I hope I become a buttefly and after I prayed, I purchased the magnet. **Now at first thought, it clearly states it was a proverb, this is not a scripture nor a divine visit from an angel but it spoke to me (plus, Paul’s letters were just letters until they became the New Testament).

Well, I made it home and that is when I first heard this song, then I read those scriptures for the first time and I hung this magnet up in my room. I was bound and determined things would get better on the other end of this trip home. They just had to get better! For the first six months, I thought about leaving every day and the many ways I could “escape”. It was not easy to start over especially because there were things in my old life I truly enjoyed but the more I read, prayed, worshipped and focused on the positives of being back home, the happier I became. (I shifted my thinking. See Counting My Blessings and Gratitude Journals)  Even when I could not see what was ahead, I fixed my eyes on Jesus until I could see what God was having me reach toward because Isaiah says, “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching for those things which are ahead.”

Now as I prepare for my next season, I listen to  “Soar” by Meredith Andrews because after being called to start over, I entered a season of waiting.  I can truly say it has been a blessing though, I have learned so many new things, I can apply new knowledge to keep from repeating the old mistakes, I have had time back home to tell people thank you for what they had done for me (Luke 17:11-19) and I have been preparing for the new things God is about to do in my life (Isaiah 42:9; 43:18-19). I joined a financial planning course rooted in scripture with Crown Financial, I joined a new church, wandered into a singles ministry which is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING and have gone back to school to prepare to go into ministry.

Whether life caused you to begin again or you feel led to make a change, starting over is a BLESSING! It is a second chance (for some it may be the seventeenth chance) but Glory to GOD for the opportunity. Starting over is a good thing because this time we will soar and that is something worth smiling about!

Thanks for reading, I hope you were encouraged. Be blessed!

 

Video by Made New Media

The Time Has Come to Unify Christian Music Stations

In 1 Corinthians 1:10-13,18 Paul writes to the people in Corinth and it is his message that I base this letter to every radio station across America that plays uplifiting, spiritual, Christian, gospel music, etc. See these words from Paul and let it sink in deep:

10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[b]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided?…

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Over the past year I have become a frequent listener of Gospel and Contemporary Christian music. The separation in “genres”, if you can call it that is saddening. Songs by gospel artists are often covered and played on the Contemporary Christian stations but the original artists is never played and Gospel stations continue to uplift new artist, never making mention of singers who are Contemporary Christian artists, it is time to bring all the good music together.  If Rihanna, Jay-Z, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus can all be on the same station, all music lifting up the name of Jesus should be found on the same stations. We are followers of Christ and the separation of our stations makes us no different than the church in Corinth that claimed they were baptized by Apollos and Cephas. As followers of Christ we need to unify and bring the world together not continue to stay on our side of the line; this is the Christian station and over here is the Gospel station.

“Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27

 

Let’s not just quote this on Sunday mornings, let’s live this Monday through Sunday.

Spotlight: Musical Sensation, Miss Bri Babineaux

Ladies and gentlemen! I introduce to you, Miss Bri Babineaux!

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A few months ago I stumbled across Bri Babineaux () singing on YouTube. She is a talented and brave young woman with a new album titled “Keys to My Heart.” Her first single “I’ll Be The One” has been on my mind for quite some time as I wondered if God could use me to be the one. According to Ezekiel 22:30, the Lord was looking for someone to stand in the gap but could not find one, today young Bri sings she will stand in the gap.

This song among many others on her album are completely inspiring to anyone who hears. From beginning to end, there is not any song you will want to skip over. As I played the album through on Spotify, I claimed each one as my favorite. Her voice, the music, the words and the annointing of her songs usher the Lord’s presence into my office, car and home. I love this album!

Bri shares her testimony on the album like a vocal journal of her experience with being transformed by God to be used for others. I personally am so thankful for her willingness to surrender because it has helped me. As I am writing this, I decided to listen to the album over again in its entirety to give you my response to the music

1. Intro – I think I might like this. It definitely sounds like something I can bump in my car..she gave God the keys to her heart. I want to do that. Lord help me give more of myself to you. (Oh song 2 has started)

2. Heaven Must Be Something Like This – Yes, this girl can sing! I want to hear the praise team sing this. Loving the words. Our hearts are crying, “HOLY! HOLY!” I love the different melodies, it’s almost like three songs put together. “I enter the throne room and bow to my knees.” Then there are the two sections where she breaks down with no music and sings Holy over and over. I love it! Yes Heaven must be something like this because I feel His presence.

3. Run Over – At first listen I understood the song to be a reminder that God is gentle, He will not force His way into our lives. So He is telling us to accept His love into our lives. I like the word “let”, which means it is a choice to accept what He is offering.

4. I’ll Be the One (Lyric Video) – To be honest, when I first heard the song I thought I want want to be the one He can use, send and trust but I’m scared. People in the bible were persecuted and this is not the most desireable way to end one’s life. So as much as her words are important, I wanted to be the one “as long as I was safe and free from criticize. This song has helped me start this blog because I have changed from my old self, though not perfect I am different and I did not want people to see this and judge me. But when I think about being afraid of what others say or do so many scriptures come to mind to encourage me to go forward to share God’s word. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. ”  Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24 and above all else I remember Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper,  and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” 

5. My Everything – This song is so beautiful. God is my everything. Give it all up, the unhealthy relationship, the job you only have for the money, the storage unit you keep full of things you may need in the future, etc. Let (there’s that word again) God be your everything. If you have no money but you have God, you are rich. No food but you have God, you will be fed. Have everything with God and in return give Him you.

6. Jacob’s Song – Most repeat! I had heard in passing about Jacob’s struggle with the angel (Gen. 32:22-31) but reading the story was moving and then to hear a song about it. I definitely have some things before the Lord and bound to hold on and not move until He blesses me. And just like Moses, I will not go forward unless His presence goes with me so people will see I am a child of God. Bless my soul and change my name. I refuse to let go!

7. I’m Desperate (feat. Sha Simpson) – I get chills listening to her plea. This is so honest and raw. I need to be free. Delivered. I have definitely been in this situation where I need soul ties and generational curses broken. If you have never been desperate for a true change and God’s hand to move in your life, the song might not hit home for you but if you are at that point where something has got to change and you know no one can do it but Jesus be desperate for Him (but don’t make the mistake of forgetting Him when He does).

8. Love You Forever – It is so sweet, this is a song of true trust. I will love you “even if it never gets better.” God is acknowledged, praised, glorified and trusted. This song is one of commitment, I will love you forever. The words “I will” are powerful, they are a promise, a covenant, an assurance, an agreement, a vow, a contract. She recognizes her life with God may not be ideal, things may not change, they may stay the same and she accepts and still dedicates her life to loving God. Now this is God, Alpha and Omega, her personal savior, Father and Friend which means He can do anything, change anything and give the perfect life we all dream of but she understands though He has all that power He may not do it but she is grateful for what He does give. Her love is not conditional it is unchanging. I will love you forever is a song of commitment, God will hear so be careful to sing along if you are not ready to love God through the times He does not move how/when you want.

9. Grace – Have you ever spent time with God really asking for forgiveness for things you have done in detail? If so, you will completely appreciate the grace He gives. “I’m thankful for Your grace.” 

10. Lord of All – I grew in a Pentecostal church so I absolutely love how upbeat this song. Dance. Clap. Beat the tambourine (especially at the end). “YOU ARE THE LORD OF ALL!  YOU ARE THE ONE WHO MADE A WAY OUT OF NO WAY!”

11. Holy Spirit – This is a cover of Francesca Battistelli’s song. Both versions are amazing!

12. Set a Fire – Jesus Culture cover. Another song with powerful words. Singing to God is praise, in the words of India Arie it is called a Songversation. Asking God to move and lead from within means the Lord begin to give you unctions to do things out of your comfort zone, give, pray, donate, and share. So after do not be surprised if you have this song on repeat for a week and you recognize you now have a soft spot for the homeless you previously pass without a care or you now want to go check on your elderly neighbor across the street.

These are not just careless words to set to beautiful melodies, they have meaning. I hope you enjoy this album as much as I have. See you on the next Spotlight.

Be blessed