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music monday: jesus paid it all by kristian stanfill

Tiffany Nicole8 Comments

I was talking with my husband about big picture / calling / God things, my favorite topic of choice, when I told him I felt like I was beating a dead horse in regards to this writing thing. It is the same underlying message in each post, written differently in essence. But God keeps leading me to share. And how some days I do not want to give the time and effort to beat that dead horse.

I said it once. Isn't that enough? And that one post back there was pretty good, God; there is nothing like the Holy Spirit leading the writing but would rather not right now.

But my husband reminded me that is what God has called him to do as a pastor. Share the Gospel. A simple message that weaves throughout the centuries and has been told and shared in millions of ways since and we are all called to share it in some form or another.

Because God loves you, he sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross for your sin. He rose on the third day and ascended up to heaven. Now, come follow him. Eternity is at your fingertips.

It is that simple.       

But simple things need simple illustrations like mustard seeds and fishes and prodigal sons to get the points across. To relate to the now.

And we need reminders of the truths because we forget. We need encouragement when the storms are raging.

And so for now, I sit and pray and offer some words as a sacrifice of praise. As an act of obedience and knowing that someone, somewhere needs some refreshment.

Because you are doing great things, my friend. God is using you in ways you never will imagine to accomplish things you will never comprehend in this lifetime.

Because God is a God of purpose and plans and the writer of the Big Picture. And with Him, nothing is dead. Nothing is too dried or withered or past expiration for God to restore and renew and refresh.

And that is worth pressing on and finishing the race. That is worth playing the part in this story because a time is coming when everyone will answer to him about how we spent our time and used our recourses. Jesus paid it all for me and for you and the least we can do is be obedient to his leading, which is for our own good. I know, imagine that.

Jesus Paid it All by Kristian Stanfill fits perfectly here. One of my favorites. Have a listen.

Jesus paid it all,

All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead.

Praying that whatever you are called to do, that you would do it all for the glory of God, despite afflictions or discouragement or qualifications. Praying you would see the bigger picture and that you would continue to be encouraged and have the endurance to keep doing what God has called you to do. 

Praying you would praise Jesus for paying your debt and that would be the motivation for you to fulfill your calling. Praying you would see glimpses of how God is using you in the here and now and that you would be able to see it in others, revealing to them their parts in the story.

Here's to endurance and keeping on. 

music monday: thrive by casting crowns

Tiffany Nicole2 Comments

It was a rare occasion to have Jude up without Penny's presence in the middle of the afternoon, so we took full advantage and headed outside to the swing set. As we walked bare feet in the grass, Jude squatted down and pointed and shouted at the little thing moving about in the grass. Bugs are exciting and always something to talk about with him. It was a bee. Wandering from grass blade to grass blade, it was frantically jumping and running to and fro, trying to get somewhere. We watched as it did its little dance, sans flying. Each time it moved, it got a little faster and appeared more flustered.

Perhaps the little bee had used its stinger and could no longer fly. I know little about bees, besides their honey making - stinger carrying - flying abilities. But it is not every day that bees go hopping about in the grass. And the oddness was intriguing, especially to my one year old. It was not doing what it was made to do.

We were made for a purpose. We were made to do more than ordinary things. More than the nine to five and houses with white picket fences and college degrees and two children. We were made to do good works which were prepared in advance for us. We were made to have an intimate relationship with God and use our God given gifts to further his kingdom.

Thrive by Casting Crowns fits perfectly here. Have a listen. Feel free to have a little dance party, too. It is one we tend to turn up over here.

We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It's time for us to more than just survive

We were made to thrive

There is so much relief and peace that stem from doing what God has made you to do. Not that it is easy in the slightest or comes fully natural but being in the will of God is sweet spot to be. Since I started writing, God has revealed himself in ways I could never fathom and it is truly an adventure and a dependence and trusting in him in ways I never needed to before.

When we are going against God's leading and making our own way, we will be working harder and getting more and more flustered. We will be building our kingdoms taking two steps forward and five back, even when things appear to be making progress. Is progress really progress when we are walking farther away from the will of God?

Praying that if you have yet to see what you were made to, what gifts you possess, the things that come easy to you but others tell you how hard it is, that you would seek God in the them. That you would see where God will take you with your skill set as you lay down your own expectations and will and start to align it with God's, despite whatever it may cost you.

Praying that you would search your heart to see what a life filled means. That you would look at the end of your life and see what you want to have accomplished and what that would entail. Praying that you would long for a life fully surrendered to Christ and impacting those around you. That it would be a life full of serving and truly loving people and loving God, for that is the purpose of life.

Here's to purposes and the bees. 

music monday: god moves in a mysterious way by jeremy camp

Tiffany NicoleComment

Usually my husband is the pancake flipper. Cooking breakfast (and any other meal) is one of his specialties, which works out perfectly with my affinity for home cooked meals. This day, however, I took on the role as pancake flipper and was on my way to pancake perfection when my three year old questioned my flipping procedure that she had witnessed so many times before.

Why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

They must cook on both sides, I responded.

But why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

The batter only cooks on one side, so the other side has to cook, too. For the other side to cook, it must be flipped over, I reasoned with her.

But why do the pancakes have to be flipped?

She obviously did not understand the concept, despite showing her the difference between the raw side and the cooked side. She just saw the flipping. And something about the flipping intrigued her, so much so she could not see past it this particular morning. After the tenth time, I assured her I just had to do it.


This word is intriguing. So much can come out of this three letter word. Why did he do that? Why did she have to go there? It can take you in to an analysis overload where questions outweigh reason and slightest look has you wrestling,

Why has been rolling around in my head lately. Why was the tree of knowledge in the middle of the garden? Why was sin allowed to enter our bodies? And why is the wage of sin death? Why the family unit comes after the fall of man?

Somewhere, someone has some theological answers with some sort of biblical backing. But I like to think of some fun reasons, too. And in the wonder and questioning and lack of understanding, God reminds me to be still (Psalm 46:10). To praise him because I do not understand because I was not created to know everything.

He knows the path of thunder and shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb and made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness and fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place and said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? (Job 38).

Because he is God. He knows. He is ways are not our ways. We do not understand why the flipping and cooking occur though we watch it before our eyes as the minutes turn to hours and days pass by.
God Moves in Mysterious Ways by Jeremy Riddle fits neatly here. Have a listen.

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Praying that your whys or hows or whens would draw you nearer to God and that you would praise the Creator as you learn to trust him. That you would see glimpses of the bigger picture and stand in awe at the works of his hands. Praying that you would see the importance of the role that you play in His piece and how you have been created for a specific purpose (Ephesians 2:10).

Here's to questions that lead to worship and praise and admiration. 

music monday: did not have a home by bethany dillon

Tiffany NicoleComment

Throughout high school I loved Jones Soda. The tasty flavors along with random pictures on the label and fun little fortunes on the bottoms of the recaps won my little heart. One lunch, during my gypsy-esque days, my fortune read: good luck will knock on your door. A well meaning friend optimistically responded that it meant I would soon have home with a door to knock on.

I have moved more times than I have toes and fingers to count. The longest residence in the past 15 years was at our previous address where we resided for two and a half years, which we are approaching at our current. When we first moved here, I remember speaking with my husband about the lack of that homey feeling. Since the celebrating of holidays and birthdays and adding another baby, the homey feeling has made its way here, too. Like it eventually does.

Residency and longevity and stability that an address provides is a unique thing. It gives a place to put your earthly treasures and display photos of memories past and makes a gathering spot for friends and family to congregate to make more. 

Jesus responds to a man who says he will follow him wherever he goes with:
Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has no place to lay his head (Luke 9:58).

Once Jesus began his ministry, he did not have a home. He took the stance of a homeless man. He walked and taught and trusted God for a place to sleep. There is a lot of beauty in this aspect of his ministry. He did not need to rely on an address or possessions because he was involved in God's work and will for his life. His trust in God was so much so that he did not need to know where he would lay his head at the end of each day - God would provide.

Perhaps this person valued their comfy, safe life with their things and address. Perhaps Jesus was challenging the very thing that was a stumbling block for him, like he did with the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-30). Following Jesus is never how we picture it. We would never imagine the good things that he has planned for us accompanied by the hard things we face, which are for our benefit - used to refine us.

Here's a little song about Jesus' lack of a home redone by Bethany Dillon. Fun lyrics - the wife part is interesting since he did not come for that - but fun none the less. Have a listen.

Birds have nests, foxes have dens
But the hope of the whole world rests
On the shoulders of a homeless man

Praying that comfort would subside and that trusting and following Jesus would be your main focus. Praying that you would not grow so comfy that you forget to look outside of your home to those of your neighbors. Praying that love and compassion and hospitality would reside in your home.

Praying that thanksgiving and gratitude for your home would dwell constantly in your heart and that you would follow God's leading in how to use it for his glory. Praying that your eyes would be opened to any stumbling blocks that are in view and that you would have victory over them through Jesus.

Here's to homes and comfort.