Hallelujah Even Here

Hallelujah even here“How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” Psalm 137:4

You expect me to sing Hallelujah even here? The writer of Psalm 137:4 was an Israelite held captive by a Babylonian enemy. How could the enemy holding the Israelites captive in a foreign, expect them to sing?

I too wondered, how could I sing praise through all the abrupt changes in my life?

All of this feels foreign.

My primary loss was the loss of my health. Secondary losses followed later. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis and the second opinion took over a year. I exhausted my excused medical leave of absence and lost my job of fifteen years. Once terminated and the long-term disability ended, we needed to sell our home. Now the secondary losses included the loss of my independence, my job, my identity, and our home. However, what I initially saw as God derailing our life was actually God’s plan to guide us to the Promised Land. 

The one-level home God chose for us has all the perks we wanted. Our house number is 2911. Every time I arrive home, I look at the brass patina numbers and recite:   

“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” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Pastor and Author of I am Number 8, John Gray, emphasizes, The password to your miracle is the sound of your praise!”

When we experience sudden detours, praise moves the Lord from His throne to inhabit and help His children. The Bible tells us God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). Praise the Lord even when we don’t feel His presence or see His hand moving upon our life. Anticipatory praise during a time of uncertainty moves God to inhabit the praises of His people.

The password to your miracle is the sound of your praise! Pastor John Gray Click To Tweet

No matter the cause of the unexpected detour, let us open the sunroof of our heart, roll the windows down of our cares, and throw our hands up in praise to the Lord. By lifting our hearts in praise, we invite God to join us in our journey.

We too can sing halleluiah even here.

Is your life in transition or taken an unexpected detour?

Do you have questions of uncertainty looming?

Offer God anticipatory praise, thanking God in advance for his provision, faithfulness, and perfect timing. 

~April Dawn White 

©2018 Red Chair Moments, All Rights Reserved

Who Told You That?

Who Told You that?

A ticker tape of negative thoughts scrolls across my mind. I squeeze my eyes shut to “take every thought captive” but the increasing brain fog prevents my ability to focus.  Exasperated, I talk to myself aloud; this stinkin thinkin is not true. Who told you that?

Recently, the battle of self-doubt and my identity has resurfaced. I am two years into my chronic illness. I have learned to accept most of the changes (though this is still a continual process). However, barbed negative thoughts snag my thinking, and scar my identity, self-doubt, and purpose.

Within a few days, I can usually pray and shake off the negativity, but instead of diminishing, this battle has gained strength. I began fighting back with vengeance. Now, each time a negative thought scrolls across my mind, I question myself aloud, “Who told you that?”  Then I rebuke the negative thought and replace it with truth from God’s Word.

Here is a list of I am proclamations of truth:

I am…

  • A valiant warrior (Judges 6:12)Strong shoes for Stony Path Corrie Ten Boom via Pixabay
  • A secret weapon in God’s army (Isaiah 49:2)
  • Unstoppable–Nothing formed against me shall prevail (Isaiah 54:17)
  • Not afraid of evil for God is with me (Psalm 23:4)
  • Taking negative thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
  • A marred pot being transformed by the Potter into something He deems best (Jeremiah 18)
  • A child of the Most High King (2 Corinthians 6:18)
  • Clothed in God’s armor (Ephesians 6: 11)
  • More than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)
  • Seated in heavenly places with my Father and King (Ephesians 2:6)
  • Actively listening to my Father’s voice each day during my #CoffeeWithJesus (John 10:27)
  • Sustained and strengthened day-by-day though my sword is marred and my shield is dented (Psalm 89:21)
  • Chosen by God (Ephesians 1:4)
  • Loved by God (John 3:16)
  • Forgiven by God (1 John 1:9)
  • Sustained by God (Psalm 119:116)
  • Strengthen by God (1 Peter 5:10)
  • Led by God (Psalm 23)
  • Guided by God (Isaiah 30:21)
  • Comforted by God (Psalm 119:48-52)
  • Secured by God (Psalm 16:8) *This is my life verse.
  • Belong to God (1 John 4:4, NLT)
  • Unable to hide from His presence (Psalms 139:7-12)
  • The head and not the tail; Above and not below (Deuteronomy 28:13)
  • Blessed when I come and blessed when I go (Deuteronomy 28:6)
  • I am His. (Isaiah 43:1)

 

The enemy is a master deceiver who wants us to keep on believing the lies and negative thoughts in our mind. When those thoughts arise ask, “Who told you that?” if it did not come from God’s Word then it isn’t true.

Do you wrestle with negative thoughts or doubt? If so, who told you that?

Is there anything in your mind that you need to take captive to turn it over to Christ?

Which of these I am proclamations resonate with you the most? Consider writing a prayer on an index card to help you battle the next round of stinkin thinkin.

~April White

©2018 Red Chair Moments, All Rights Reserved

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Winter: A Season to Rest

Winter Rest PixabayFrigid temperatures and biting winds ravage the mid-West and east coast of the United States. There is no doubting what season we are in: Winter.

The name ‘winter’ derives from an old Germanic word meaning “time of water” and refers to the high rain and snowfall that often accompanies this season.

Winter is a time for rest— a time for dormancy of crops and animals. The rest the winter season provides leads up to the next season of new growth.

 

God rewards those who seek Him with rest and peace. Click To Tweet

During this winter season, what would happen if we watered and rested our minds and soul on Christ?  The Apostle Paul wrote, these encouraging words in Philippians 4:4-9:

The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

What new growth does God have planned for us if we simply rest, cease striving, and “Be still and know, that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)?

The notion of resting and being still is the concept I am embracing for 2018.

Resting and being still before the Lord is active work. It means setting aside a large portion of uninterrupted time to read and marinate in God’s Word. It also means being quiet before the Lord and listening to His voice. The mere act of being still contradicts our Western culture of bombarding noise, distractions, and busyness.

God is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6) and His rewards are rest and peace.

Below are a few Scripture verses to jumpstart your watered rest. In addition, I recommend the book Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God by Mark Batterson.

Scripture of RestWinter Rest Pixabay

“They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.” (2 Chronicles 15:15)

Scripture of Watering

 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.” (2 Samuel 22:17)

“Whoever brings a blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” (Proverbs 11:25, ESV)

God is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek him. During this winter season, let us water and rest our minds and soul on Christ.

~April Dawn White

© 2018 All Rights Reserved

All Scripture NIV unless otherwise specified.

Unpacking God’s Faithfulness

We moved into our new home seven weeks ago. As I unpack our possessions, I also unpack evidence of God’s faithfulness to our family.

Carefully removing the bubble wrap, I lifted the print from the box and fell back on my haunches. Tears pricked my eyes as I remembered the symbolism behind the cow print. Ebbie the cow, represents God’s faithfulness, provision, answered prayers and promised kept.

Meet Ebbie

Ebbie is my nickname for this cow. It is short for Ebenezer.  At the time of purchase in 2014, I had recently read the book, The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. The author’s fervent prayer life influenced my own prayer life. Batterson prayer walk circled around a crack house in Washington D.C. During one of his walks, God whispered the idea to purchase the property and renovate it from a dilapidated crack house into a coffee shop.

Years and miracles later, God abundantly answered that prayer. The Ebenezers Coffeehouse is named after the marker of the Lord, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12, NKJV).

In January 2014, one substantial expense after another rapidly depleted our savings account. During this time, I read, “I own the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10, NLT).

Taking God at his word, I fasted and prayed a bold prayer shared in The Circle Maker, “Lord would you sell some cattle for us?”

I am convinced God loves bold prayers, especially ones centered on His Word. I also believe that according to Matthew 17:21, some situations are only resolved through prayer and fasting. This simple yet bold prayer during fasting recognized my total dependence on God. It also acknowledged God as Creator, Sustainer, Provider, and His Sovereign.

God answered my simple prayer, “Lord would you sell some cattle for us?” God answered more than five times. The finances arrived in a variety of unexpected ways, each time I stopped and said, “Thank you Lord for selling your cattle for us!”

My goal is to unpack one box a day. More important than unloading a box, I need daily reminders of Gods’ faithfulness. Our recent move was bittersweet. This move, my sudden illness and a new assignment in life was not part of my plan. However, we enjoy the conveniences of suburban life, including high-speed internet, curbside trash pick-up, and pizza delivery, but we miss our lakefront view.

It is important to look back on our lives and realize God’s faithful fingerprints were holding us together.

What memories can you unpack and recognize God’s faithfulness?

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” (Psalm 77:11)

 ~April Dawn White

© 2017 All Rights Reserved

Celebrate Grunt Work

This week we are eating cake—chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.

<Gasp> Yes, I said peanut butter. Although taboo in public settings, (due to allergy concerns) peanut butter is a staple in our home and the kids L-O-V-E my homemade peanut butter frosting.

This week we are celebrating the completion of one of my long-range goals: Completing a manuscript and book proposal.

The idea of co-authoring a book began with a conversation with my friend Marilyn Nutter.  Long before we met in person, we met online and respected each other’s writing style. During a writers’ conference, we exchanged ideas over coffee and tea in the comfortable mountain lobby. The more we prayed about the idea, the more similarities God brought to our attention.

Marilyn and I understand grief and stress that accompany a primary loss.  Marilyn’s, primary loss was the unexpected sudden death of her husband and best friend. My primary loss was the rare genetic disorder, Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis, that hijacked by body in my early forties.

Once Marilyn and I committed to this new endeavor, our days filled with writing, research, editing, and learning the writing craft. Over the next seven to nine months, we would write, edit, and rewrite.

This week, Marilyn and I celebrated these five words: Manuscript complete. Book proposal sent. Marilyn and I live states away; therefore, we were unable to celebrate together. She celebrated with ice cream and I celebrated with cake and a tall glass of milk.

Marilyn and I know that completing the manuscript and sending off the proposal is only the first of several steps in the publication process.  But we are celebrating the grunt work.

In our American culture, we tend to celebrate the triumphant beginnings.

We celebrate the grand finale.  

Do we celebrate the hours of required grunt work?

No.

We fail to celebrate the difficult steps.

Perhaps we fail to celebrate each step between the triumphant start and grand finale because those steps are not glamorous; those steps are tedious and monotonous grunt work.

This week we celebrate grunt work! Click To Tweet

Grunt work is not sexy, but is a necessary part of any process.  Whether you are power washing your house, spray painting patio furniture, saying ‘no’ to the extra serving of macaroni and cheese, or biting your tongue from lashing back at your teen, celebrate the grunt work.

What long-range goals do you have?  How will you celebrate the grunt work?

~April Dawn White

©2017 April Dawn White, All Rights Reserved.

16 Character Traits of God in Psalm 145

Restless, I wandered room to room searching for a place of solitude—finding none. The house was bustling with activity. Dash, the rescue kitty, sneaked a peek at our two Jack Russell terriers. A symphony of chaos erupted when Guinness and Kinsey saw the cat.

“Take the dogs out! The barking is driving me crazy!” I commanded.

 

Heavy footfalls of five grandkids, ranging in age from ten to nineteen, stomped through the house to tend to the barking dogs and a barking Mama.

“Lord help!” I pray.

Opening my Bible, the Lord answered my plea for help with praise from David in Psalm 145. As I studied God’s Word, I underlined each attribute of God contained in this passage. My heart swelled as I read of God’s goodness and His compassion and active care for His children.

In between the barking dogs and kid chaos, God met me and provided the solitude my soul craved. From the ancient Psalm of David God reminded me of these attributes of Himself:

Great

Worthy of Praise

Majestic

Unfathomable Greatness

Gracious

Compassionate

Slow to anger

Rich in love

Faithful to all this promises

Upholds the fallen

Lifts the oppressed

Satisfies with His open hand

Fulfills desires of those who fear Him

Hears our cry

Saves us

Watches, preserves, and guards all who love Him.

God also taught me we cannot control our circumstances, but we can control our response and the direction of our praise.

How does reading these attributes of God change the outlook of your current situation?

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)

~April Dawn White

©2017 All rights reserved

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