Doxology Living

Living a life of doxology is a tough challenge. But, we are called to live a life of doxology in good times and in bad. You may ask “Doxology, you say? I don’t get it. Isn’t that a song that we sing in church on Sundays???” Yes, it is.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Imagine if we actually lived out this song…this doxology…this song of praise, admiration and adoration of God Almighty from whom ALL blessings flow. What would our lives look like if we lived a life of doxology every day?  I’ve been challenged in this area. I’m a work in progress…learning to praise God in ALL things.

This Easter season has been a difficult one for me and Louis for a number of reasons.  A month ago, I had emergency gall bladder surgery, which cancelled our week-long escape to Florida. After fussing and complaining about missing this much-needed trip (or so I thought), it did not take long to start counting our blessings.

1.  I praise God that the gall bladder attack didn’t happen while we were IN Florida – away from home (AND after having spent the $!!!).  All prepaid money has been returned or credited to us from the hotels, activities, etc.

2.  I bless God that I was home (although without by gall bladder) in RVA to cry with and support a friend who suddenly lost her husband.  If this was THE ONLY reason I lost my gall bladder, then it was worth it.

3.  I praise God that we didn’t spend the money, not knowing that a week later, Louis’s call as interim pastor would come to an abrupt end.

4.  I am thankful that we have reminders of God’s faithfulness.  It was this time last year that Louis and I found ourselves without an income stream, and God provided for our needs.

5.  I praise God that HE is in control. Not me. Because I, for certain, would definitely mess things up.  And I love that fact that even when I try to take control and royally mess things up, God is gracious and kind in reminding me that I am NOT in control.

6.  I praise God for blessing me with bountiful friends and family who have given of their time, food and resources over the last month while we both have recovered. I bless God for neighborhood Godson – Terence, who has been our legs, arms, and back muscles schlepping things up and down the stairs, in and out of the car, taking out the recycling bins and trash, etc.

7.  I praise God that I am learning to find my identity and acceptance in HIM and Him alone, not in others who let me down, who baffle, confuse and disappointment me, and who reject and/or push me away.

8.  I am grateful that although I may be surprised and shocked at things that come my way, God is not surprised, nor shocked.

9.  I bless God for awesome, gifted medical staff who treated me and Louis during his first total knee replacement 3 weeks ago and the second scheduled for early June.  Grateful that Louis’s pain level (thanks to PT – Physical Therapy which we now call Pain and Torture. haha) is managed by medications.

10.  I praise God for hearing and answering the prayers of His people and for those who lifted up those prayers!

I could go on and on.  And, I should go on and on.  For He is worthy of our praise, not just because He comes to us in our need, but we bless His name just because He is God Almighty, Maker of heavens and earth, the One who breathes and gives life to each and every one of us.

For what are you thankful?

For what do you sing of God’s praises?

Why do you want to practice Doxology living?


The Wait

You know…there is nothing better than doing what you were called to do….what you were made to do.  Sometimes this is a life-time calling.  Sometimes it comes in seasons.  I admire people who are led by the Spirit to shift from one calling and into another….even when they don’t know exactly what the new calling is…for sure.  But, they walk away in faith trusting God.  To some people…that sounds like craziness.  To us as human flesh…it does sound foolish!  Take 2 recent examples who were at the top of their game (based on American standards)…popular, huge, well-known, probably wealthy, and successful.  To me…they are encouraging!  2 examples of leaving “success” behind and headed out in trust and faith for the “unknown”.

April 18, 2010, Francis Chan announced that he was leaving Cornerstone Church during his sermon “Surrender”.  Chan started this church years ago…and has been at it his entire married life…and so,he left that behind and now he and his family are off and doing something new.  During his sermon (listen to it here), he talks about this restless feeling that he had before moving into that decision.  In the video announcement, after reading part of Luke 14, his wife says…

I do want to lay down my life….in my flesh I don’t.  I want to cling to what I know…but God is calling us out and we can’t deny that….Pray for us…as we take a step of faith….but the Holy Spirit has said differently.

Then, today….the David Crowder*Band announced that this would be their last album and last tour.  You can read their announcement here.  In this announcement, they tell what led them to this decision.  They aren’t breaking up.  There isn’t a feud.  It’s just time. In following the leading the Holy Spirit, it’s time for them to do something else.  A new thing.  Their letter states…

None of us is sure what’s next, but we’re not afraid. We’re, in fact, really, really excited!

But, there is nothing better than being right where you are supposed to be…and how desperately we want to be there…NOW.  I think of our friends and heroes, April and Scott Salvant (link:  Salvant Seven). The Salvant family wants nothing more than to be in Haiti working in the orphanage – New Hope Haiti Mission.  Although they have already acquired a new home in Haiti, they are waiting desperately for their house here in the Richmond area to sell, so they can be on their way. (If interested in a beautiful home, check out this link.)   The wait has been painful for them at times, as they desperately long to be “home” in Haiti.

Why is it that we have such difficulty in the “wait”?  Waiting is doing something, right?  I am often reminded of the Exodus scriptures when the Israelites followed the fire by night and the cloud by day.  The fire and clouds weren’t always moving.  Sometimes they were still.  The scriptures also refer to them camping out.  Sometimes, that is what we do….we camp out and wait for the cloud or fire to move.  I need to learn to find joy in the waiting.  But, what is it that we should be doing while we wait?  We could sit…and look up at the cloud/fire….and say “It hasn’t moved yet.” or we can spend time in preparation.  What does it look like to prepare?  For Chan and his family, it was traveling and exploring.  It was spending time in prayer and the Bible.

Louis and I also I feel like we have been called to do something new.  I know some people think it’s foolish for me to leave the bank, but it is what we have been called to do.  We have been in a waiting period for quite some time.  Waiting for the burning bush…the writing on the wall…the cloud/fire to move.  It can be so frustrating!!!  I have to remind myself that in the waiting God has been preparing for what is next.  We also have taken practical steps..

  • by strengthening our marriage and our lives together.
  • by praying together and individually and seeking prayers from our prayer warriors.
  • by investing time and resources in reading and learning more about what we feel God has called us to do.  This includes reading the Bible, although I confess I have often let reading books replace reading the Bible.  I need to fix that!!!
  • by learning to say “no” to things that aren’t God’s best.  Good is the enemy of the best.  I still struggle with this one!!!
  • by getting our finances in order.  God has blessed us in so many ways!!!  We continue to look for ways to trim our spending.
  • by learning to relax and recreate.  We need to schedule more downtime in our lives for rejuvenation.  Our lives are so full of ministry, that we don’t get a lot of time to kick back.
  • We also need to learn to live a “simpler” life.  Not exactly sure how to do that!  Luke 10 tells the disciples to travel lightly and simply.  He also basically says don’t get distracted. These are 2 areas we still are working on…making things more complex than they need to be and allowing distractions get in the way.  We need to wage war against those 2!
So, for those of us who are restless and waiting, let us be encouraged by others who are “crazy enough” to also step out in faith and trust.  People like Francis Chan and his family, David Crowder Band, and the Salvant’s!  (Lord…I pray their house sells SOOON!!!!)  But, in the wait….may we remember….

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

But in the end…on the real judgement day….(not this crazy doomsday 5.21.2011 mess…don’t EVEN get me started!!!)….I just want to hear,
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”   Jesus in Matthew 25:23.
In honor of DC*B, this is my prayer…take a listen.

24.7.365.

I know I owe you guys the rest of the story…and I will pick it up soon….I promise! Coming soon!!!

Recently, I have been borderline obsessed with listening to the David Crowder Band….anything and everything I can get my hands on!  This song especially has been speaking to me.  Like me, there are many of us who are struggling with the stuff that this earthly life brings…..job loss, death, uncertainty, addictions, depression, loss of childhood, abuse, cancer, financial strain, prison, lack of identity, sickness, weakness, relationship issues and strife, etc.

This songs serves to remind me…and YOU that He never lets go…..He is with you (and me) always. anywhere. everywhere.  He’s got you! 24.7.365.