This is a confession....one Im not proud of, but God receives glory when we confess our sins to one another. Music is such a huge part of my life, it always has been, it's no wonder I married a musician =) But one of the first things God told me to release when He called me to follow Him, was secular music. Not a complete discard, but all the secular music I was listening to at the time was absolute garbage. I still cringe thinking of some of the lyrics that have passed through my lips innumerable times. I would sing along to such filthy, sexually promiscuous, murderous, envious, cursed words without thinking twice. No guilt, no conviction, no problem. I actually thought I was cool for knowing every lyric to every Tupac song (for example) and now I continually pray for the Lord to renew my mind and wipe out my memory of those words. I thought it was of perfect moral for men and women, in the entertainment industry, to use such violent lyrics in their songs, and suggestive themes to their music videos and then praise God for their success on their cd insert or at the receiving of an award. But James 3:10 tells us differently: "And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters this is not right!" Last week...everyday last week, actually, I was drawn to a past musician. No, not the likes of Tupac, Notorious BIG or even Outkast to name a few but something in me desired to hear an old favorite again. Just a well known jam band that was always a staple in my car rides, partying nights, and dates with Tim. But one song turned into a cd, and one cd turned into 4 cds. Before I knew it I had their cd in my car, and kitchen radio, and almost listened to their extensive catalog in one week. Their lyrics never spoke of 'the club;' never used degrading names for women, & never spoke of violence. BUT the lyrics in their songs took me back to my old familiar sin....and for a moment I was ok with that. I actually tolerated the presence of the enemy, luring me back to an old life. Wow , I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit just typing these words. The enemy was luring me back to an old life of sin, an easier life. A life where everyone knew my name, and I didnt feel lost in a crowd of hundreds, a life where I was the boss of my destiny (so I thought), a life of partying and drugs and putting flesh first. Satan was speaking in my ear reminding me of 'good' times & old 'friends.' "Wouldn't it be nice to go see them in concert again?" "They talk about wine alot, maybe Tim would let you keep some in the house, but just to cook with of course" "You know, you could listen to this cd in the car, & leave the baby home with Tim so you can ride around a smoke like old times and no one would ever have to know." Wheels in my head turned. I never followed threw on any of the thoughts but I hadn't thought like that in 3 years so why was I doing it now??? Where in the world were these desires coming from??? And then I realized--it was the music. Now to anyone reading this it may seem ludicrous, but music has such a strong effect on me, whether positive or negative. God knows this, this is why He told me to lay it down. The devil also knows this, which is why he pulled me back to it. With me, smell is not the strongest sense tied to my memory, its hearing. I can hear a song and think of all the places I was and people I was with when I last heard that song. And its never a good place or situation. Its unholy memories that Im ashamed of. I thank God that He reminded me of my first love with Him and the day I said 'yes' to follow Him and laying down all other lovers. And this little jam band was a BIG lover in my life. Again their lyrics would seem innocent to the masses but for me those sweetly sang words put ungodly desires in me, and I was compromising the vows I had made with God. I felt my heart being sold to another lover, one that does not love me in return. A lover that always left me empty handed. A lover that sent my emotions up and down with each track. But now my Lover is Jesus and His Word(s) are the lyrics to my life, the song in my heart, the balance to my emotions. He has saved me from a multitude of wickedness and for a few days I forgot that. Thank you God for pulling my heart back to you! We can never be comfortable in our sins nor should we be comfortable in remembrance of our old sins. A friend once told me that we are either getting closer to God or further away and there is no stand still! Wow!!!-her words set me free and they apply to me in my love of music--I can listen to the radio but it always returns void. I get no nourishment or life from it so I prefer to listen to worship music. God's word never returns void! If something as simple as my choice of music keeps me close to God then by all means Kim Walker, sing on! (This is not to suggest, by any means, that music is to be our only outlet to God. We of course are to read the Word and Pray DAILY!) To me, popping in a worship cd, a sermon, or Misty Edwards' latest album changes my atmosphere-whether in my car, or home-the Holy Spirit feels welcome. So I can have 'church' while Im playing with Enzlie, folding laundry, and cooking dinner just by CHOOSING to feed my spirit with things of God and not with things of this earth. Honestly, which would you rather have your children singing along to-Kesha (however you spell it) or Lady Gaga's newest hit, or praises to the King?? Do you choose to let life or death fill the airwaves of your home and car? Because remember there is NO STAND STILL!!-its either foward or backward; life or death. Which do you choose for you? For your children? I choose LIFE! This week has been so much more productive for me, both in a homemaker sense and spiritually, because my household chooses life.
"Happy are the people of integrity, who follow the law of the Lord.
Happy are those who obey His decrees and search for Him with all their hearts.
They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths."
Thursday, February 3, 2011
First of all let me attach a disclaimer to this blog: I in no way wish to offend anyone, or push an idea onto anyone with the words I am about to type. This particular blog is a semi-vent/opinion that I hope may enlighten my readers or if nothing more open a mind or two. Now we shall begin... :) I recieve a flyer from a local church in my mail once a month. Although I dont agree with all of its content, it definitely has a good story or two and an overall clear message of Christ. However, in the last two issues I noticed that the major feature in the flyer is not Christ at all, but a heavy push on that particular church's doctrine. Let me also say that the writer of this feature is well known for his articles in my small town, whether they be found in his church's newsletter or our city's newspaper. He is known for expressing his opinion. Thats great-I also like to share my opinions-who doesn't? But my father taught me a little saying about peoples' opinions, which I wont repeat, but it has stuck with me through the years. Opinions=great; shoving your doctrine down my throat in a monthly newsletter that I did not sign up for=not so great :( Again, let me pat them on the back and say 'well done' for their flyer at all. Most 'Christians' take a back seat to witnessing and wait around to catch their flight to Heaven. So the fact that a local church in my small town has the fundage to send a monthly newsletter out to thousands of people is definitely commendable in my book. However, I find it grossly disturbing that the writer chose only a 2x2in section to lead others to salvation through listed bible verses & an ENTIRE back page to cover HIS opinion of why musical instruments are 'biblically forbidden in church.' His argument is 'because they are not mentioned in the New Testament' (paraphased)...really wish I hadnt thrown it away so that I could give you exact quotes...So my biff is this--what's more important Sir, leading others to salvation through Jesus and helping them stay there (yes, I do not believe in 'once saved, always saved' but that is not this blog) or making sure 6,000 people know that you absolutely will never have need of an organ player???? The Word says that "every man should work out his own salvation with fear and trembling" (Ph. 2:12), not 'work out his denomination.' And since when are we instructed to read between the lines so much so that an entire ultra-conservative denomination is formed? Salvation is from God-it is essential; denomination is man-made. I confess, I go to a non-denominational church, so I am VERY for musical instruments, dance, flags, singing-all types of praise.Call me biast. Do I have to have music?-no. Do I believe our worship here on earth should be a reflection of the praise and worship that is happening in Heaven this very minute-yes.I also believe in baptismal, but opting to not be baptized is no more going to send you to Hell than having a musical band play during worship. If so, my husband would bust the gates wide open as he is our drummer. Being baptized is symbolic of drowning the old you and being reborn in Christ. You go in the water as one creature and out another. It is not essential to your salvation, but it is a public declaration of your faith in Christ. Married couples in uncivilized villages on the other side of the world probably dont have matching wedding band sets, but does that make them any less married? No, because the ring is symbolic and shows to others that you are taken. But, I will not push my idea of baptismal, or worship with music for that matter, because if I do that then I miss out on the opportunity to truly share Christ with some one. If I push my personal convictions, opinions, likes/dislikes onto a non-believer, or anyone, then Im pushing ME and not CHRIST. Selling myself to people is not why I am here. I am here to share Christ-His likes/dislikes, His truths found in His Word. When you focus solely on your denomination's doctrines then you place Christ in the background and push your way to the front. This is not right! The "flyer writer" claims that music should not be allowed in today's church because its not mentioned in the New Testament, therefore its lack of mention means it should be forbidden. Riddle me this, Sir, physical circumcision is not mentioned in the New Testament (as being necessary), but was the Law of Moses in the Old Testament, so are all circumcised men cut off from salvation? If we read between the lines then we can assume that any man being circumcised, since the age of the New Testament, is cut off from God because God demanded circumcision in the Old Testament, but doesnt mention it in the New Testament. Therefore, we can reason that since circumcision is not mentioned it is forbidden. Right? Are we suppose to make outlandish assumptions due to lack of mention???!!! Galatians 5:2 says "Take note! I, Paul, tell you that if you get circumcised, Christ will not benefit at all." Wow--heavy words! Christ will not benefit at all! As so, Christ does not benefit when we put our preferences in place of Him. He surely does not benefit when we attack other churches publically because we do not agree with their doctrines. He does not benefit when we as The Church argue amongst ourselves, and debate, and validate, and point fingers. This only shows non-believers that we have taken our eyes off of Him, therefore keeping their eyes from ever seeing Him. Non-believers dont see Jesus because we are too busy showing them ourselves. And what do they see? Seperation by denomination. Cliques. Disunity. Membership. Church is not an elite country club so stop acting like it! Dont you see that that is what the enemy wants?! Satan wishes to distract us from Gods purpose of being harvesters (Matthew 9:37-38). Distraction breeds division. Brothers and Sisters, let this be an awakening!--stop forcing your denomination down peoples' throat! Simply love Jesus, LIVE for Him and let them see Him in you by your good deeds. People dont see Jesus in your life because you do, or do not, have music in your services. They look for His evidence in your life the other 6 days of the week! I hope Ive made my message clear here. Its not to argue for music in church; its not about church service at all, its about using your drive and passion for the things that will benefit Christ. He benefits when the Kingdom advances. The Kingdom advances when souls are saved. Let our fire and passion go to seeing souls being saved!
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
When it comes to my husband & I, he is definitely more thrifty & budget conscious while I am more of a "you better buy it now or it may be gone" kinda gal. Luckily, Tim's good money making/spending decisions have impressed upon me during the 4 years of our marriage, but I admit that I'm not totally submissive with every swipe of my debit card as I should be. So it would have been a surprise to anyone when he suggested a few months ago that I buy a new pair of tennis shoes and I declined. Yes, it was quite shocking to me too :) I bought a pair of Nike Shocks just before we got married because I knew the opportunity to spend $120 again would practically be obsolete. I was always a New Balance girl in high school because it was what you were 'suppose' to wear. I'm incredibly rough on shoes, so much so that I have to buy a new pair every year. Tim kept teasing me that my Shocks were falling apart (they were perfectly intact, just in need of a washing) and I continued to stand up for the only shoe that had ever taken up property in my closet for more than twelve months. On a side note, I was once walking six miles a day for over a year in them, and now enjoy Zumba at least five times a week so I cant stress enough how much of a durable shoe Nikes truly are. Well worth EVERY penny! Isnt it funny how we 'need' new this and new that every year when we are still supported by mommy & daddy but as soon as we are married and pay for things on our own we are perfectly happy with 'stretching it' out for a few years? :) Now picture this, Enzlie is asleep, I pop in my Zumba dvd for my afternoon work out and half way through a Reggaetone Bounce the sole of my left shoe blows. Its literally flapping up and down like an old man's loose dentures! What was I to do??!! Call Tim and admit that he was right?? Sure Id get a new pair of shoes....but that meant having to say 'hey Honey guess what? You were totally right and I was totally wrong & I realize that I just got a new computer three days ago but now a need a $100 pair of shoes, mkay?' Yup, I felt guilty for not buying the dang things months ago when he had suggested it. So I called him. He especially enjoyed the part about him being right. I finished my workout in my socks then hopped on the internet to find some new Shocks before Enzlie woke up. Much to my surprise the price of Shocks have risen to $140! Yowza! Now that might not seem like much dough to some reading this but we live on one income so we go bananas for bargains. And boy did my sweet Jesus lead Tim to a whopper of a bargain! After checking out Fitness Line & Zappos online he stumbled onto 6pm.com (stop reading this RIGHT NOW and go browse their site!). Its an overstock, discounted, sister site to Zappos. Not discontinued mind you-what they have online is still available in stores there are just limited colors & sizes, hence the price reductions. While I was on Nike's website pricing Shocks I did a little researching on a new shoe, the Nike Free. It has a very flexible sole which makes it the most versatile shoe ever because you can train, run, walk, dance -anything-with this shoe. And hallelujah Jesus, 6pm.com has Nike Frees! The particular pair I pined for retail at $85 and I bought them shipping and all for only $49.95!!!! Yay!!! The best part is they were at my house, on my feet, and doing the Queta Mueva in less than two days!! I did not pay for advanced shipping. In fact they have a flat shipping rate of $6.95! My shoes are amazing! They are soooo easy to move and Zumba in. I wore them out of the house for the first time tonight and I seriously kept them on until bed time--they are that comfortable and believe me I enjoy lounging in socks or going barefoot but these shoes are so lightweight and flexible its the closest thing to socked feet. My Shocks will definitely be missed as they are the most faithful shoe to date that I have ever owned. Perhaps I will follow the notion of Ralphie's dad and bury them in the back yard while softly playing 'Taps.' So the moral of this blog, boys and girls, is this: 1)Nike Frees are amazing 2)You can buy them at 6.pm for dirt cheap. Happy shopping and happy exercising! Here is my exact pair below: