Tag Archives: Dee Brestin

Transform Your Morning and Your Mood in Less Than TEN Minutes…

Friends! March madness won’t drive us mad IF we try the below suggestion each morning…

GOOD NEWS for you readers out there: You do NOT have to be a morning person to start your day off well!!!

Coming from a confirmed grouch in the morning, in dire need of a pot of coffee prior to producing any semblance of intelligent conversation, I’m happy to report that listening to music in the morning brings blessings a plenty:

music and technology concept - smiling young woman with closed e

Blessing #1: Your focus will shift away from you and your distractions, rising up to the Lord.

Blessing #2: Praising the Lord allows you to worship with truths straight out of God’s Word.

Blessing #3: Your spirit will be lifted no matter your circumstance.

I’ll be giving you two worship songs shortly to get you started. If you listen to both of them, you can do this in under ten minutes

Recently we talked briefly about Dee Brestin’s book The God of All Comfort: Finding Your Way into His Arms which she graciously penned after her husband’s death. Songs are what saved her sanity.

The God of All Comfort

The first song I’d like to share with you John and I discovered while attending our middle son’s church, Tates Creek Presbyterian Church (TCPC), in Lexington, Kentucky.(www.tcpa.org )

Upon singing this song with its’ powerful lyrics (which caused me to weep), I made a mental note to investigate it.  I also wrongly assumed, because of TCPC’s more liturgical services and typically older hymns, that this song was also an old one. Au contraire…

Please allow me to show you one of my new favorites,

O Church Arise by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. (Never mind they also wrote a huge favorite of mine and I suspect yours, In Christ Alone. Checkout Travis Cottrell’s rendition if you have time.)

Keith is a British, Northern Irish composer, married to Kristyn, who many times co-write these “modern hymns”. Stuart Townend is a British, English songwriter and worship leader.

GETTYMUSIC-WELCOME-BOX_01

Please sit back and enjoy Oh Church Arise. Soak in the lyrics:

To read these truths from the lyrics, here are just a few Scriptures that spell them out:

Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 4:6 and 8, 12:9; 1 John 1:5; Isaiah 14:2; Psalm 27:1; Philippians 4:13; Romans 5:2; Colossians 2:15; and Hebrews 4:12.

The second song I’d like to show you I suspect you already know, but perhaps hadn’t been able to savor the Scripture around which it’s centered.

I’d heard about Kari Jobe over the past few years and was blessed to be led in worship by her at a Women of Faith Conference in Houston in March of 2014. (Click on “Houston We Have an Answer” from 3/6/14) FYI:

I love her song I Am Not Alone for several reasons…the most important of which is the reminder within the title. As believers in Jesus Christ, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit within us, we are never alone.

Matthew 28:20 is where Jesus tells us, “And lo, I am with you always…” Kari also says while writing the song, they began with Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. 

Please enjoy:

Savor these Scriptures which go along with Kari’s song:

Isaiah 43:1-2; Daniel 3; Psalm 23; Psalm 46; Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; 2 Corinthians 7:9-16; Romans 9:2; John 12:35; Exodus 14:14; and 2 Chronicles 20:17. (You can find more if you hunt!)

My prayer for all of us is as we begin our days, may we jump start them with worship and praise as only our Lord deserves. See if your mood doesn’t vastly improve as well.

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Music, Scripture

Transform Your Morning and Your Mood in Less Than TEN Minutes…(Part 2 of 3 on Music)

GOOD NEWS for you readers out there: You do NOT have to be a morning person to start your day off well!!!

Coming from a Confirmed Grouch in the morning, in dire need of a pot of coffee prior to producing any semblance of intelligent conversation, I’m happy to report that listening to music in the morning brings blessings a plenty:

music and technology concept - smiling young woman with closed e

Blessing #1: Your focus will shift away from you and your distractions, rising up to the Lord.

Blessing #2: Praising the Lord allows you to worship with truths straight out of God’s Word.

Blessing #3: Your spirit will be lifted no matter your circumstance.

I’ll be giving you two worship songs shortly to get you started. If you listen to both of them, you can do this in under ten minutes

Last week we talked briefly about Dee Brestin’s book The God of All Comfort: Finding Your Way into His Arms which she graciously penned after her husband’s death. Songs are what saved her sanity.

The God of All Comfort

The first song I’d like to share with you John and I discovered recently at our middle son’s church, Tates Creek Presbyterian Church (TCPC), in Lexington, Kentucky.(www.tcpa.org ) We’d gone to Lexington to meet Gordy and Lauren at their church and celebrate Gordy’s birthday.

Upon singing this song with its’ powerful lyrics (which caused me to weep), I made a mental note to investigate it.  I also wrongly assumed, because of TCPC’s more liturgical services and typically older hymns, that this song was also an old one. Au contraire…

Please allow me to show you one of my new favorites,

O Church Arise by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. (Never mind they also wrote a huge favorite of mine and I suspect yours, In Christ Alone. Checkout Travis Cottrell’s rendition if you have time.)

Keith is a British, Northern Irish composer, married to Kristyn, who many times co-writes these “modern hymns”. Stuart Townend is a British, English songwriter and worship leader.

GETTYMUSIC-WELCOME-BOX_01

Please sit back and enjoy Oh Church Arise. Soak in the lyrics:

To read these truths from the lyrics, here are just a few Scriptures that spell them out:

Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Corinthians 4:6 and 8, 12:9; 1 John 1:5; Isaiah 14:2; Psalm 27:1; Philippians 4:13; Romans 5:2; Colossians 2:15; and Hebrews 4:12.

The second song I’d like to show you I suspect you already know, but perhaps hadn’t been able to savor the Scripture around which it’s centered.

I’d heard about Kari Jobe over the past few years and was blessed to be led in worship by her at a Women of Faith Conference in Houston in March of 2014. (Click on “Houston We Have an Answer” from 3/6/14) FYI: She’ll be in Louisville May 16th with Women of Joy!!! (www.womenofjoy.org )

I love her song I Am Not Alone for several reasons…the most important of which is the reminder within the title. As believers in Jesus Christ, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit within us, we are never alone.

Matthew 28:20 is where Jesus tells us, “And lo, I am with you always…” Kari also says while writing the song, they began with Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. 

Please enjoy:

Savor these Scriptures which go along with Kari’s song:

Isaiah 43:1-2; Daniel 3; Psalm 23; Psalm 46; Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; 2 Corinthians 7:9-16; Romans 9:2; John 12:35; Exodus 14:14; and 2 Chronicles 20:17. (You can find more if you hunt!)

My prayer for us all is as we begin our days, may we jump start them with worship and praise as only our King of Kings and Lord of Lords deserves. See if your mood doesn’t vastly improve as well.

Next week we can all look forward to hearing from my friend, Elizabeth Jeffries, who has discovered this type of beginning to her day. Wait ‘til you see what she’s learning!

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Music, Scripture

Mr. Music, Please…Why We Mustn’t Argue over Musical Styles of Worship (Part 1 of 3)

My Daddy gifted me with a feverish love of music from as far back as I can remember. Every night when he’d come home from work, he’d head back to the den, crank up the stereo, and pop on an album of lovely jazz. (You youngsters may be wondering what exactly an “album” is.)

Black Vinyl Lp Album Disc, Isolated Long Play Disk With Blank La

Henry Mancini, Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, you-name-it, he had their music. I’d sit with my parents in the family room, allowing the music to soothe our souls, while Daddy would share the happenings of his day.

Once I began to take piano lessons, Daddy also took them to encourage me to keep at it. Initially we took from an uber talented guy who was in a jazz combo’. (Any of you hailing from Lexington may remember Dave Perry.) He taught us both classical and jazz/contemporary music.

Music Notes

Near the end of each lesson, provided I’d mastered his assignment, Dave would allow me to pick any current favorite song. He’d then write it up in a manuscript book, along with the chords. He was smart, knowing that if I’d learn the classical pieces first, my treat was learning the hippest tunes.

When I turned Sweet Sixteen, desirous of a cute sports car, or any car, I got a Steinway and Sons baby grand piano instead. Yeah, well, it had three wheels instead of four. Mother said, “You’re not going to major in driving in school, you’re going to major in music!!!” Alrighty then… 

Piano

(Cool backstory on this piano: One of my Grandmother’s friends in Palm Beach, Florida, owned a pair of these pianos. They sold one to my parents, thanks to prodding from my Grandmother who happened to be a proficient pianist. I was blessed to sit under her coaching for a few years until her unexpected death.)

Over the next three weeks, we’ll be talking about different types of music. When we arrive at the third part in this series, you’ll get to hear from a dear friend of mine, Elizabeth Jeffries. Elizabeth will share with us how hymns have greatly enhanced her morning quiet times with the Lord.

*** We’ll have another book giveaway in part 3 also!!!***

While I’m now a fan of both traditional hymns and contemporary ones, my prayer for this post is to encourage you to think out of the box. In other words, forget about one style of music being better than another and focus on the words to praise the Lord. 

Next week, I’ll share some favorite songs with you, showing you how many lyrics largely come straight out of Scripture. What better way to worship the Lord than with His Word? 

Old Bible With Sword

Let’s have some fun first: Two hilarious nicknames for contemporary worship have recently fallen under my radar:

“7/11” hymns: Where seven words are sung eleven times. Think about that for a minute…. HA

Another phrase for these songs I heard the first time from a friend in Lexington. He dubs them “Jesus-is-my-boyfriendsongs.” That deserves another alrighty then….(Checkout www.praytellblog.com for an article on “Jesus is my boyfriend songs: New entries in the struggle between ‘orthodox’ and ‘pietist’ hymnody?”)

So we don’t argue over different styles, let’s hear from author Dee Brestin in her book The God of All Comfort: Finding Your Way into His Arms. She recounts when a friend called her to the carpet on her remarks dissing contemporary tunes.

The God of All Comfort

Dee begins with a frightening point I’d not considered: “Perhaps because music is such a powerful tool against the enemy, it is also a way he has sought to divide the body of Christ. “ Yikes.

She then gives us two verses, Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 which both talk about singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs

Composer Isaac Watts said,

Just as we do not ask that our preachers speak only the words of Scripture, neither should we insist that we sing only the words of Scripture, but instead, be open to hymns and spiritual songs based on scriptural themes.”

Isaac Watts

Dee’s friend Ann wrote her a letter paralleling Watts’ sentiments:

“I have thought a lot about the sheer volume and variety of music about Jesus Christ…

Think of:

Gregorian chants,

Bach’s organ music,

Great hymns,

The Gaithers,

Russian Orthodox music,

Christmas music,

Handel’s Messiah,

Mozart’s Requiem,

Choral music,

Praise and worship music,

Current rock music that honors Christ and reaches teenagers.

Thousands upon thousands of songs written to the praise and glory of God. All different styles. Beautiful….” What a list!!! (Dee also includes words to hymns at the back of her book that have helped her cope with the death of her husband. Her book is invaluable.)

Let’s close with an old hymn with a new twist, Great is Thy Faithfulness, thanks to gifted London vocalist Sam Robson. Some of the chords are so rich, they’ll make you melt. (Imagine the patience and time such an undertaking required for this arrangement!)

Loads of thanks go out to my buddy Liz Curtis Higgs who introduced many of us to Sam in a recent blog about God’s faithfulness. www.lizcurtishiggs.com

Turn up the volume and tune in your ears:

Lyrics are below if you wish to sing along:

“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;

There is no shadow of turning with Thee,

Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,

As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Refrain:

Great is Thy faithfulness!


Great is Thy faithfulness!


Morning by morning new mercies I see


All I have needed Thy hand hath provided


Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;

Join with all nature in manifold witness,

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

(Refrain)

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.”

(Refrain)

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Family

HELP! My Calendar is Controlling ME!!! (Beating Busyness – Part 3 of 4)

Death hovered.  Old Man’s chest barely rose, each breath seeming to perhaps, be his last.

Suddenly, an irresistible aroma wafted its’ way up the stairs, straight into his bedroom.  Miraculously, bolting upright, Old Man swung his legs over the side of the bed, planted his bony feet on the cold, hardwood floor, and walked down the stairs!

There, with her old floral apron on, stood his wife of many decades, baking dozens of chocolate chip cookies.  “Am I in Heaven?”  Old Man wondered while approaching the counter.

The following sensation was not from savoring the mouth-watering aroma, but from a sharp, searing pain shooting thru’ his hand.  Seems Old Man’s wife flailed a brisk “Whack!” with the spatula across his hand!

“Stop!” she cried.  “These are for the funeral!”

(Story adapted from Overcoming Overload—Seven Ways to Find Rest in Your Chaotic World by Steve and Mary Farrar.)

Overcoming Overload

Shocked?  I’m thinking the wife can’t see the forest for the trees!  She must have been just a tad overloaded.

Poor Old Man probably died without having one last chocolate chip cookie.

Tragic.

Ironically, we find ourselves in similar scenarios without recognizing overload.  Today we’re going to address controlling our calendars vs. our calendars controlling us. 

bigstock-Calendar-987269

David C. McCasland said, “Altho’ people will pay to fix their stress, they are not about to change the lifestyle that’s causing it.”  Ouch.

Let’s try an experiment:  Picture yourself in line in the grocery store.  An elderly lady is told her total by the clerk, and then, for more than a few minutes , she hunts thru’ her purse for her checkbook.  Upon finding it, she then spends more than a few minutes hunting for a pen.  Writing in very neat, slow-but-sure cursive, she dots all her ‘i’s and crosses all her ‘t’s.  Double checking her spelling, the amount, etc., she then finally hands over the check.

Next in line, how are YOU behaving?  Are you tapping your foot impatiently, checking your watch?  That would be an affirmative from yours truly.

In our rat race, why doesn’t everyone whip out the credit card, swipe it instantaneously, grab their receipt and run?  Who has time to wait in line?  Don’t we all have people to see, places to go, hurry, hurry, hurry?

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Beth Moore just assigned a fitting Scripture to memorize on her January 25th post of her blog, www.blog.lproof.org   It’s from Isaiah 30:15-18.  Verse 15 in particular sounds like God’s been watching us scurry:  “Your salvation requires you to TURN BACK TO ME and STOP YOUR SILLY EFFORTS to save yourselves.  Your strength will come from SETTLING DOWN in COMPLETE DEPENDENCE ON ME.  The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.” (from The Message)  Anyone besides me need to just settle down?

The grocery store scenario came from Dee Brestin’s  book  Idol Lies–Facing the Truth About Our Deepest Desires.  She addresses our desperate need to recognize and squelch our idols.  For example:  “When I exaggerate to make myself look better in the eyes of others, I am bowing down to approval.  When I overeat, I’m bowing down to comfort.  When it’s more important to be a successful Christian wife, or mother, or author, I’m finding my identity in those things, not in Christ, moving me away from God and toward my crouching idols.”  Busted on all accounts.

Idol Lies

Back to the grocery store scenario, when we find ourselves irritated over having to wait, our idol is our agendas. Dee suggests, “First, confess that you are NOT more important than the elderly lady ahead of you.”

Remember, God loves that person just as much as He loves us. Sweet Dot Weaver, God rest her soul, used to always tell us:  “You may be the only Bible someone ever ‘reads’.”

Dee adds, “We must embrace BOTH parts of the gospel:  repentance and faith.  The first part of the gospel helps us see our sin, and the second part helps us move forward in faith, trusting God.”

So HOW exactly, can we control our calendars and not have them control us?  How can we ban the idol of our agendas?

Last week, I gave you a few suggestions (see info’ in post “Don’t Miss Liz Higgs.”…), one of which addresses balance in our lives.   Our margin guru, Richard A. Swenson, MD, also wrote, The Overload Syndrome—Learning to Live Within Your Limits.  This perpetual resource has a mere one hundred and seventy-five “prescriptions” for maintaining balance: controlling change and stress, hurry and fatigue, debt, possessions, work, media overload, choice and decision, active commitments, etc.!!!

The Overload Syndrom

He pleads:  “Each of us has 86,400 seconds per day. If we schedule ourselves for 90,000 seconds per day, we’re double booked, skipping lunch, dead tired at the end of the day. But, if we build some margin into the schedule, a buffer, a short coffee break for the soul,” we’d be so much better off!

bigstock-coffee-cup-and-beans-cinnamon-32546585

Henri Nouwen explains the idea of margin and white space for us:  “In the spiritual life, the word discipline means the effort to create some space in which God can act.  Discipline means to PREVENT everything in your life from being filled up…”

 In other words, say “no” more than you say “yes”.   Swenson offers:   “When you get up in the morning, what is it you wish to do today?  And one hundred years from now, what is it you’ll wish you would have done today?  Do the latter.”

“Every day we fill our lives with things to do that weigh nothing on the scales of eternity.”  Sit on that for a minute… That decked me flat.

Balance

Confession:  I am famous for struggling with guilt.  Pitiful-poor-people-pleaser that I am, guilt is exactly what gets me into trouble, causing me to say “yes” when I mean “no”, overfilling my calendar.  At the end of the day, please answer me this:  WHO is the one who fills in your calendar?

Now, I know some entries are unavoidable such as sports events for your children.  Stress dominated me, then trickled down to our family when our middle son played on the high school golf team.  They had tournaments  all over the State of Kentucky.  One weekend we’d be in Pikeville and the next in Paducah.  Living in Louisville, those cities are several hours away.

bigstock-Golf-Swing-In-Riva-Dei-Tessali-1549724

I’ll be the first to tell you I wish I’d savored my time with our son and the team more.  I loved and still love watching him play, but only occasionally did John and I both get to go. (Can’t forget our two other boys who also had games in either basketball, soccer, or football.)

Many times we had to “divide and conquer,” another unhealthy thing for today’s family.  (We could spend a week on that topic!) Plus, I had zero knowledge  of margin back then.  Honestly, the stress more than trickled…more like bull-dozed!

Good News!  Mary Byers wrote a must-read for us gotta-do-it-all womenHow to Say No and Live to Tell About It—A Woman’s Guide to Guilt-Free Decisions.  She begins,  “’No’ is such a little word.  Just  two letters.  And yet I’ve seen women lose sleep over the prospect of having to say it.”!!! Anybody???

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May we heed Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you  rest.”

We can TAKE ACTION today by creating a “no-asis”.  Mary’s definition sounds like another lesson on margin:  “The purpose of creating a noasis is to ensure you have resting places in your life that will slow you down and help you catch up to yourself.

Those resting places are white spaces (that’s margin!) in your calendars.  Mary wisely reminds us it was Jesus himself who intentionally “withdrew to lonely places and prayed  (Luke 5:16).  Jesus obviously recognized the value of rest and refreshment.” 

In Mark 6:31, Jesus is found talking  to his Apostles, “…because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a QUIET PLACE AND GET SOME REST.’”

 Fun Ideas from Mary to Nurture a “No-asis”:

  • A hot bath
  • A walk around the block alone
  • A morning latte in the sunshine
  •  Reading in a park  on your lunch hour
  • Lighting candles and sitting quietly (Remember our “arrow prayers?”  See…Beating Busyness Part 2 of 4) Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  More of that settling down…
  • A massage, manicure, or pedicure
  •  Dinner or lunch out with a friend
  • A ‘free zone’ (time with your family where the kids agree not to ask for anything or argue with anyone)”—Boy, I missed the boat on this one.  Tell me if this works for you, those of you with young kiddos still at home?
  • My personal favorite:  “Putting yourself in ‘time out’ (Remember experts recommend that you get one minute for each year of your age!!!)”  Ha!  This is the BEST!  ONE way your age works FOR you!
  •  Journaling” (see journaling….Also part 2 of 4)
  • Turning radio off in the car

bigstock-Retro-woman-smiling-happy-in-o-31837979

 As you can see, we could go on and on with this.  My prayer for all of us would be:  purposely be intentional when adding to our calendars.

Pause-n- pray BEFORE you pen.

                Pause-n-pray BEFORE you pen.

                                Pause-n-pray BEFORE you  pen.

                                                Pause-n-pray BEFORE you pen.

Bottom Line:  It is God, not ourselves, who will ultimately receive the Glory when we are rested, peaceful, AND in control of our calendars.

And, unlike Old Man, may we find time to savor a warm, chocolate chip cookie!

‘Til  next time!

(This week’s blog post is dedicated to the “Queen of the Calendar”, a/k/a my friend Jayne Combs.  She’s a retired teacher.  She keeps our group of friends connected.  She’s who I spoke of in an earlier post–“Sure Cure for a Bah Humbug Attitude“.  She shoots us emails with “Random Dinner” in the subject line.  When we do gather, we’re instructed to bring our calendars so we can set a future get-together.  Jayne keeps us all sane and because we’re all aging, trust me, THAT’s a very good thing indeed! Love you bunches, Miss Jayne! )

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Filed under Friends, Life Lessons, Margin