Living Loudly for His Glory {Forever Reign}

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We sat shoulder-to-shoulder, all sipping something hot. I whispered first, as if I didn’t want to believe it myself. Their eyes searched mine while I worked through my thoughts out loud. Her gentle hand patted my knee, encouraging me to keep going…I was on to something.

So I started over, this time with much more conviction. I told them we’re all in a position to influence another whether we feel ready or not. We have daily opportunities to impact another for His glory…His good.

Are we taking advantage of them?

The book in discussion challenges us to take Christ’s example of living/influencing seriously by abiding by our simple calling: to be like Jesus. And I told them outright how not simple and impossible this sounds. How I grow overwhelmed with the task

until one day I realized…

Friends, we don’t need to focus on influencing and being Jesus as much as we need to set our hearts on living out loud Christ that is in us. Because if we do, He will take the little moments we offer and turn them into bigger moments of glory.

It’s not our doing. It’s always His. Every time.

Do we need to be Jesus? No. We just need to let Him be…allow Him to live through us. No matter how incapable we feel to that task.

And I may never fully comprehend how He’s able to use me for His good. How He can craft me with grace and mold me into a useable vessel…it blows my mind. Yet He never disappoints. He’s up for the task every moment of every day. I simply have to stretch wide, deny myself, and let Him lead the way.

I may feel incapable, but He’s not.
I may make a mess of things, but He’s the best mender around.

I may even see how He was able to turn my ashes into beauty. For His glory.

He’s always enough.

And so today, I offer myself to be used. No matter how small, regardless of how big. I’ll admit my own shortcomings while clinging to His promises. And I’ll join the battle of glory and fight for His reign.

Because He is. He does. He always will be.

Would you like to join me? This song sets my heart on the right course. I invite you to worship by my side. Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in.

Forever Reign

One Sonic Society

You are good
When there’s nothing good in me
You are love
On display for all to see

You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true
Even in my wandering

You are joy
You’re the reason that I sing
You are life
In You death has lost its sting

Oh I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord
All creation will proclaim

You are here
In Your presence I’m made whole
You are God
Of all else I’m letting go

My heart will sing
No other name
Jesus, Jesus

How about you, friend? How do you live out loud Christ that is in you? How do you simply let Him be, through you? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

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How I Need Him {And Me Being Okay With That}

Jeremiah 29:13

It’s a simple promise. An invitation, really, to come looking with insurance attached.

Jesus reiterated it in Matthew 7:7 and in Luke 11:9, and my heart warms with the assurance that when I need Him and search for His presence with my whole being, He’ll be there. Always.

Yet how often do I look? How many times in my everyday do I go knocking?

I cannot think of one single day I didn’t need Him. I can’t recall one moment when I should have gone alone. Still I often try.

It was in my devotions a couple of weeks ago I read these verses differently. And something in my heart finally clicked on to the truth.

Friends, God’s expecting us to come looking. He’s fully aware of how much we need Him every moment of every day.

We’re not built to be self-reliant. We may grow old, but we never fully grow up…up to the heights of Him. And He’s okay with that. He’s offering His assistance with a promise that He’ll never turn us down.

And here’s what my heart struggled with: I need to be okay with that.

I need to admit every day I’m useless without His guidance.
I’m hopeless without His promises.
I’m worthless without His salvation.
I’m nothing without grace.

But, friends, just think of what I am in Him…just imagine what I can do with Him by my side or carrying me through…

Oh How I need Him.

So it’s settled. I want to wake up each dawn, see His splendor in the sunrise, bow before Him and knock. I want to appear before the King of Kings each morn and invite Him to my side. Or in front. Or whatever position He deems best for what I’m about to face that day. He knows best. Always.

This morning, it went something like this:

Father, here I am admiring Your masterpiece before me. Just when I think I’ve seen all the beauty there is to behold in a sunrise, you dazzle me with more…more of You. Thank You for showing me You have so much to offer. You have so much to give and You never grow weary of splashing me with surprises. Even in something that happens everyday.

Lord, I don’t know what today holds. I cannot anticipate every incidental or circumstance I’ll need to take on around every bend. Father, please, come with me today. Be my guide. Because You know. You see. You have the best course of action ready. And that’s the one I want. I want…no…I need You right here with me.

Show me the way, Abba, and I’ll go. Lead me and I’ll follow. Carry me and I’ll hold on tight.

So break the dawn, crack the skies, make the way bright before me. For I know in Your light, I will find all I need for today….You.

Oh how I need You…

Then I blast this song and sing along. I invite you, friend, to do the same (subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in to this amazing moment of worship).

Oh How I Need You

All Sons and Daughters
Integrity Praise

Lord I find You in the seeking
Lord I find You in the doubt
And to know You is to love You
And to know so little else

I need You
Oh how I need You

Lord I find You in the morning
Lord I seek You every day
And let my life be for Your glory
Woven in Your threads of grace

Light glorious light
I will go where You shine
Break the dawn, crack the skies
Make the way bright before me
In Your light, I will find
All I need, all I need is You

How about you, friend? How do you claim your dependence on Him every day? Are you okay with it? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

In Need of Refreshment? {Here’s Some From Sherrey}

She found me some time ago. I don’t remember how…why…when… Not because it didn’t matter, but because it feels as though she’s always been here encouraging me. I can’t picture this place before her…

We became friends.

And I’m so blessed to be able to share a bit of her heart with you here this Music Monday! Thank you, Sherrey, for taking me up on the invitation.

Friends, will you please welcome Sherrey?

Thirsty, parched, dry, dehydrated.  Even the words make you long for something cool to drink, don’t they?

A hot day in summer working outside and the throat is so needy for some liquid refreshment. Something to trickle back on the tongue, down the throat and cool as it goes.

But the throat on a hot summer day isn’t the only part of me that grows thirsty. Sometimes my heart and yes, my spirit, feel thirsty, parched, dehydrated.

Why you may ask, and the reasons are many.

Busy, too busy to soak up His Word waiting to be read in my Bible or daily devotional.

Busy, too busy to soak up His Word whispered in my ear.

Why so busy?

Busy, too busy trying to finish the first draft of a book.
Busy, too busy catching up on emails and the ever-present reading of blogs and commenting on them.
Busy, too busy using social media to build what the book gurus call my “platform.”
Busy, too busy with the necessities of life — cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking.
Busy, too busy reading books, but not those in the Bible.

Do you see the picture unfolding here? It’s all about the busyness of my life, so it’s all about me. Yes, I said it — all about me.

When I focus on me and what I want to do, I become oh, so thirsty and parched. Longing for a watering to my soul.

The first time I heard the song, As the Deer Pants for the Water, I was in a dry period in my life several years ago. Living 2200 miles away from my family and my older brother’s wife was dying. How I longed to be there. I hungered and thirsted to be there, but I knew I couldn’t go. I had a family of my own and a job I needed to keep.

The next Sunday morning the Praise Team in our church brought this new song to us. As I listened and read the words, I felt the Source for replenishing my dehydrated soul and spirit. He would fill my cup once again with whatever I needed.

No matter how often I lose my focus on Him and look to the world and my busyness to keep me refreshed, God still steps in with unconditional love and replenishes my soul and spirit.

So, today whenever I feel myself slipping in the direction of dryness, the desert, a parched place I think of the deer longing for water and how God takes care of the deer and you and yours and yes, even me.

Inevitably, this song comes to mind, As the Deer Pants for the Water. Based on Psalm 42:1, it redirects our focus on our true need:

As a deer gets thirsty
for streams of water,
I truly am thirsty
for you, my God.
Psalm 42:1 (CEV)

Take a moment to listen to this beautiful message set to music. I’m sure many of you know this song well. But take time to listen. Refresh your souls and spirits today. And then remember to step back from the busy, too busy parts of your life to soak up God’s goodness.

sherrey2013A retired legal secretary, Sherrey Meyer grew tired of drafting and revising pleadings and legal documents.  She had always dreamed of writing something else, anything else!  Once she retired she couldn’t stay away from the computer, and so she began to write.  Among her projects is a memoir of her “life with mama,” an intriguing Southern tale of matriarchal power and control displayed in verbal and emotional abuse.  Sherrey is married and lives with husband Bob in Milwaukie, OR.  You can reach Sherrey on her websites:  Healing by Writing and Found Between the Covers or via email at salice78 @ comcast . net.

How about you, friend? How have you quenched your soul’s thirst lately? We’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with us.

Simply striving,

Nikki (and Sherrey)

Do I Know Holy? {After All}

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He asks me innocently enough. His silver-toned eyes glistening in the afternoon glow. It’s as if he won’t even blink until he’s heard my reply. And my heart races as I ponder what to say next.

For how can you describe the word ‘Holy’ in a way childlike comprehension can understand?

I close my eyes, as I often do in hopes I can visualize it well enough to explain; but this time is different as I wonder to myself: Do I even know “Holy”?

My mind races through the pages of proof. The Book hallowed enough to claim the word in its title. I contemplate how it’s revered in the text.

Friends, maybe the beauty of Holy is one can never describe it enough. It can’t be encapsulated in to a simple explanation. A summary will never do justice.

So my boy and I…we do our best to decide what awes us the most. Me–I think of the womb. The one cursed with pain and still brings forth such miraculous beauty…despite of us… My boy reflects on recent discoveries involving metamorphosis and new life all the same. And I tell him then — The One who made all that possible…He Is Holy.  He…Is.

It’s because of His wonder I’ll join the shepherd boy, the one penned in Psalm. I’ll dance in the field of dreams. I’ll sing my heart out and shout to the heavens of glory…

I’ll cry Holy.

And I know I’ll never dance well enough. I’ll never sing pure enough. I’ll never shout the right things loud enough. I’ll never BE enough. But friends, do you know what I’m discovering? He doesn’t care about that.

After all… He’s the Holy One.

He came to take my place. Not so that I would take His.

He is enough.

Which makes me wonder: Maybe Holy doesn’t need a definition. For the meaning is found in its infinite wonder. It’s unmatchable beauty. It’s overwhelming grace.

I realize then it’s the eyes of a child one needs to see Holy in all its Splendor. Unadulterated faith is required to revere the only one worthy of such a Title. And I tell my boy he could probably describe it better than I could.

His eyes glance to the frieze. His breathing shallows as he whispers simply,

“Mom, I think Holy is something you just know…”

My lungs freeze as I swallow the lump brewing. I squeeze out quietly,

“Oh, bud…I hope you know…I pray we both do…”

Friends, I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to stop striving
To know Him
To see Him in all His glory
May I never rest until I’ve given honor and praise to the One I know as Holy.

After all…He is Holy…I just know it.

This song is worth your time. Subscribers — CLICK HERE to listen in.

After All (Holy)

by David Crowder

I can’t comprehend Your infinitely beautiful and perfect love
Oh I’ve dreamed dreams of majesty as brilliant as a billion stars
But they’re never bright enough after all

You are Holy

I will sing a song for You my God
with everything I have in me
But it’s never loud enough after all

You are Holy

Heaven and earth are full of Your glory
My soul it overflows full of Your glory
Oh blessed is He who reigns, full of Your glory
My cup, it can’t contain all of Your glory

Hosanna we are found after all You are
Holy

I can’t comprehend
You’re infinitely beautiful

How about you, friend? Do you know Holy? What comes to mind for you? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

The Scandal of Grace

Grace Perfected

I’ve done things I regret. Said things I shouldn’t have. Thought the unthinkable.

Some days I try to picture how dirty and decrepit I must have looked while Jesus was on the cross.

Still He chose to save me. His love broke my fall.

No one can make sense of what He saw…in me…in you…in any of us to choose to die in our place. Because there is no sense to pure, raw, unadulterated love.

That, my friends, is the scandal of grace.

And I don’t know about you, but I pray I never get over where His grace has brought me.

For Jesus has taught me how to live…in scandalous grace.

I’m free because of Him.
My life is a gift…from Him.

I can praise Him, rest in Him, find shelter under Him, thank Him, bring all I have to Him, strive to emulate Him…all because of grace.

He. Is. Enough. What scandalous grace.

Scandal of Grace

Hillsong UNITED

Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in to this wonderful song below:

Grace what have You done.
Murdered for me on that cross.
Accused in absence of wrong.
My sin washed away in Your blood.
Too much to make sense of it all.
I know that Your love breaks my fall.
The scandal of grace.
You died in my place.
So my soul will live.
Oh to be like You.
Give all I have just to know You.
Jesus there’s no-one beside You.
Forever the hope in my heart.
Death where is your sting.
Your power is as dead as my sin.
The cross has taught me to live.
And mercy my heart now to sing.
The day and its troubles shall come.
I know that Your strength is enough.
The scandal of grace.
You died in my place.
So my soul will live.
And it’s all because of You Jesus.
It’s all because of You Jesus.
It’s all because of Your love. That my soul will live.

How about you, friend? How has grace captured you lately? How do you face the scandal of it all? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Which Needy Am I?

P1760683~ Courtesy of Greg Abel Photography

I’ve been thinking about the rapport we have with Jesus…more specifically the relationship I have with my Redeemer. And I believe fully there is only one kind worth having: Hot. Don’t you think? Revelation 3 comes to mind…

I have to ask myself: Am I hot for Jesus?

Do I love Jesus or am I completely in love with Him?

Am I Head-over-heels, can’t get enough of Him, smitten?

Friend, a part of me thinks we either realize how much we need Him on a daily basis or we rely on Him only when we feel we need Him.

I have to ask myself: Which Needy Am I?

Do I have moments where I need Jesus to intervene, or do I realize I am nothing without Him, downright needy for Him?

Do I merely call upon His Name at my convenience, when I can’t seem to find my own way, or do I ache for Him throughout my everyday, clinging tightly to His promises…chatting with Him like the friend He wants to be. John 15 comes to mind.

It goes against human nature — to be needy. But in this upside down Kingdom of Grace, that’s a good thing.

Friends, Jesus thought we were worth dying for…I think that qualifies for being smitten.

He is head-over-heels in love with us. He just is. He. Is.

And He wants nothing more than to lighten our load, love on us relentlessly, give Himself to us. He has everything we could ever want. He Is everything we’d ever need.

I don’t know about you, but I realize and want to remind myself daily:

My, do I ever need Him. I’m head-over-heels, completely needy for Jesus.

Everyday. All day.

This week, I want to focus on this in my daily walk. You all know how music speaks to my heart in ways words cannot. So I’m committing to starting each morning with this song. For it sets the tone I want to walk into each day with. And I wanted to share it with you.

Friends, I just gotta have Jesus.

Lord, I Need You

Matt Maher, feat. Audrey Assad

Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in to this incredible song.

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, you’re my hope and stay
Lyrics provided by KLove HERE.

How about you, friend? Are you needy for Jesus? How do you live that out in your everyday? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

A Wonder of Worth {One Thing Remains}

God placed her in my life last year when we needed each other most. Of that I am certain. I can’t even begin to tell you how much she has blessed me since…

And I’m so honored to introduce her here. Friends, please welcome my dear friend Jenn.

Jenn, thank you for sharing this intimate moment with us…

He whispered, “Walk with Me”,
and He showed me a path.
One that was dusty, rocky, overgrown with thorns,
it twisted and there was no ending in sight.

Reaching out to me and grabbing my hand,
He led the way.
He spoke.

He spoke gently to my soul,

Let me take that burden.
I know it is heavy.
I know your questions are hard and unanswered.

I required you to have much faith.

Earthly fathers can disappoint,
they can break promises.
They give up and run out.

A bitter pill and a hard lump to swallow,
it has made you  wonder your worth and
My love for you.

My child, My love it never fails.

 

The hole in your life, it was made for only Me to fill.
Let Me satisfy your soul.
My child, I know this is not a path you would have chosen
but trust Me, for at the end it leads to a beautiful place.

My friends, I share this song with you.
It is my favorite.
Through this journey, I have learned God’s love is all we need.

One Thing Remains

Kristian Stanfill

Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in to this song drenched in promise.


Hello, I’m Jenn. I am a blessed wife and a mom to three beautiful daughters. My family and I live south of Chicago in a little farming town.
I became a Christ follower in High school and thank God that He saved me by grace.
Join me in this race as we encourage each other along the way?

You may find Jenn over at her writing home: Running this thing Called Life.

How about you, friend? Have you allowed God to satisfy your soul? How have you discovered your worth lately? We’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with us.

Simply striving,

Nikki (and Jenn)