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music monday: great are you Lord by all sons and daughers

Tiffany Nicole2 Comments

I was talking with an acquaintance when he interrupted himself, asking if he has just made a complaint. I was baffled at the random question. He went on to take a rubber band from his left wrist and place it on his right, stating that he was working on not complaining. Each time a complaint was made, he moved the rubber band to his other hand, as a physical reminder of progress.

In our society, complaining is another form of speaking and great in casual conversation. The weather is too hot. No it's too cold. The food is not up to standard. The day is just horrible. You should have stayed in bed. On and on and once it starts, it just gets easier from there. 

These idol topics do nothing more than fill you will negativity. Perhaps you know someone like this. Perhaps it sounds a lot like you. Perhaps the complaining comes off with more of a bragging connotation. Oh, she is so busy. There is so much to do. How is she ever going to enjoy those vacation activities among all the other summer shenanigans? How is she going to get from work to practice and then the other party? Poor her.

It is a constant in society. A society that is so full of affluence and wealth and full bellies and two car garages that the only thing left to do is complain about all you have. How messy your house is. How you have to clean it. All the maintenance needed to perform on such and such. How much this and that costs.

When Moses took the Israelites out of Egypt, they were nearing the promise land. They had escaped Pharaoh's grasp and witnessed miracle after miracle. The parting of the red sea. Eating mana from heaven. Drinking water from a rock. God guiding them in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night, yet with all of this, they managed to find something to complain about. God heard their grumbling. "How long will this wicked community grumble against me?" he asks (Numbers 14:27).

Complaining only makes matters worse. Because of their complaining and doubting God's deliverance, the Israelites wandered the desert for forty years. I have yet to reach that milestone in my age, perhaps you are approaching it or already hit it many years back. Can you fathom wandering forty years of your life in the desert? 

God has given you blessings to count, not issues to grumble about. He has given special markers in your faith where he provided as only he can, so you can praise him. When you start focusing on the blessings in your life, the complaints start falling on the way side.

God did not give breath so it can be used to sit around and complain all day. He gave it so others could be built up with it. For praising him. For sharing the good news. For joy and laughter and love. God gave you breath to praise him.  Here's a song that conveys just that, Great are you lord by All Sons and Daughters.

It's Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise. It's Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to You only.
Praying that more praise and uplifting words would leave your mouth than negatives. Praying that complaints would be weaned from your vocabulary and thankfulness would be a regular. Praying you would use your breath for his glory and purpose. 

Here's to using your breath and all your being to give praises, not only to God but those around you. Less complaints and more compliments.

music monday: the motions by matthew west

Tiffany NicoleComment
In light of all the chaos that is constantly emerging in the world - crashes and shootings and wars and on and on - I find myself enjoying my life more than ever and being more intentional in the day to day and listening better to God's leading. Time is not guaranteed and I want mine to be spent with purpose. I do not want to get to the end of my life and realize I would have taken more chances or done this or that. 

The. time. is. now. To listen. To act. To love. To do. 

When the final chapter of my life is written and my story ends, I do not want to be mourned with sorrow but rather rejoiced in great celebration. The celebration of the life and hope and love that Jesus gave for me and knowing I am safe in his arms.

Matthew West wrote this song, The Motions with this sort of mentality in mind. Have a listen.

I don't wanna go through the motions. I don't wanna go one more day without Your all consuming passion inside of me. I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, what if I had given everything instead of going through the motions? 

I want to have loved fiercely and given freely. I want to have enjoyed the moments and forgiven the wrongs. I want to have a nonexistent comfort zone and God inspired life. I want to have enjoyed s'mores and campfires and have picked time over money. And savored the way Penny tells me Jesus loves me. Read tons of bedtime stories and embraced early morning snuggles. And eaten lots of chocolate covered almonds, for the health benefits, naturally.

I want to have given more than I have had and relied on Christ to supply the rest. I do not want to have left behind material possessions, as they are only of the flesh, but a legacy in Christ, which will last for eternity. But most importantly, I want to have finished the race strong, thriving in the work God has given me, as a wife, mom, friend, sister, aunt, cousin and whatever other title he has bestowed on me.

I pray that you would live like there is no tomorrow. Not arguing or ruffling your feathers over the small things and coming to realization that everything is small. I pray that as you come to the end of your day and week and month and year that you would stop and focus on what matters and not fill up your calendar with events that add to chaos but rather those that add to the deepening of friendships and giving and serving.

I pray that you would find what matters to you in life. That you would see the significance in your life and the difference you personally make in the life of others - the words you speak and actions you do. I pray that you would see Jesus and commit yourself to his unfailing grace and love and mercy and that when your life comes to a close that you would hear the words "well done good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).

Here's to more big picture thinking and having a leaving your own legacy. Here's to getting out of the motions and in to God's symphony. 

music monday: hope can change everything by K-LOVE Fan Awards Artists

Tiffany NicoleComment
For Father's day I had planned on doing one of those super cute printables that ask what is daddy's favorite color, food, thing to do etc. and have Penny answer the questions but with Ricardo being out of town for a week and Penny's third birthday the day before father's day, I never ended up getting to it. I did, however, start asking Penny the questions when I stumbled on the one that I imagined I would print out. 
Red was his favorite color, his favorite thing to do was play with is fairies (who doesn't right?) and then I asked why she loved him. I was taken back with her answer. She responded with "because he loves me." I thought for sure she would say because he plays fairies with her or swings her or gives her more ice cream than she should have. Surely, one of the things that he did for her would be the reason she loved him. Immediately, 1 John 4:19 came to mind, "we love because he first loved us." 
God loves us. He loves you. Unconditionally. Nothing you can do or say or have done will ever change that. He sent his son to die for your sins (John 3:16). He taught us how to love and gives hope. 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

I think somewhere it is engrained in our hearts to love. Not based on merit or anything we can do, just pure love. We only know how to love because Jesus loved us. Because he died for us. He gave us hope. Hope in tomorrow. Hope in the worst of times. Hope for the better. Jesus is hope.
This week I wanted to share a new song that K-LOVE started playing that was made for their fan awards about a month ago, with several of its performing artists featured. (A fun little fun side note: all of the proceeds from this song go towatds rebuilding Detroit and bringing the city back to life. You can read more about that here.) The lyrics of this song radiate hope and its effects. And how amazing it is. Have a listen.

This song so encouraging, right? What is more encouraging than hope? What about the hope behind it? I pray that if you have not found hope in Christ, that you would. That you would trust him to do so and give yourself the best hope now and to come. Hope can change everything.

Here's restoration and rejuvenation. Less worry and more hope. Here's a little 8x10 of a few of my favorite lyrics, although it was hard to choose - the whole song is well written -  to encourage you. Click image to download.