“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.
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
“Well, I declare!” Growing up in the South, I’ve heard my mom utter those very words thousands of times. In my mother’s southern mountain drawl, the phrase “Well, I declare” sounds more phonetically like this “Well-Eye-Dee-Clair!” This term, “I declare” wasn’t necessarily used to declare a proclamation or rule. It was a term often followed behind another famous southern phrase with a subtle back-and-forth shaking of the head and a slight grunt. For example, “Bless your heart, well, I declare” (head shaking in disbelief…slight grunt).
This morning, I was reading in Psalm 71:7-8 “Since my youth, you have taught me and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray (or balding), do not forsake me God until I declare your power to the next generation.”
After reading that passage, I prayed that I would not grow to be a grumpy old woman. I want to radiate joy. I want to declare the goodness of the Lord in all times! It was then I realized that I had not finished typing out this the final selection of my favorite Psalms. Well, I declare!
“I call upon the Lord in my distress and He answers me!” Psalm 120:1
“He who watches over you neither sleeps nor slumbers.”Psalm 121:2-3
“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8
“May there be peace within your walls. May those who love you be secure.” Psalm 122:6
“So our eyes look to the Lord our God, til he shows us His mercy.” Psalm 123:2
“If the Lord had not been on our side, we would have been attacked, drown, or torn to shreds by others, but the Lord our God, our Help broke the snare and we escaped. Praise be the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” Psalm 124 (my version)
“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which can not be shaken but endures forever…so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forever more.” Psalm 125:1-2
“The Lord has done great things for me and I am filled with J-O-Y!” Psalm 126:3
“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Blessed are those whose quiver is full of them.” Psalm 127:3-5
“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways…and may the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life.” Psalm 128: 5-6
“I have been greatly oppressed, but the Lord is righteous; He has set me free.” Psalm 129: 2
“Out of the depths I cry out to you- Lord hear my prayer…but with you is forgiveness.” Psalm 130:1, 4
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in His word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5
“Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and full redemption.” Psalm 130:7
“I do not concern myself with great matters or things too profound for me that’s God’s job!”
Psalm 131:1 (italicize mine)
“I will not enter my house or go to bed, I will not allow sleep to my eyes nor slumber to my eyelids until I find a place for the Lord.” Psalm 132:3-5
(Or as my friend once said, “No Face book until I’ve had my face in HIS book”)
“I will bless her with abundant provisions” Psalm 132:15
“How good and pleasant it is when we live together in unity.” Psalm 133:1
“May the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth bless you!” Psalm 134:3
“I know that the Lord is great, that our God is greater than all gods.” Psalm 135:5
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His love endures forever!” Psalm 136:1
“Do not let me fail to remember you O Lord. Do not let me fail to honor you.”
Psalm 137:6 (my paraphrase)
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life…with your right hand you save me.” Psalm 138:7
“All the days of my life were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16
(Note to self: God’s not finished with me yet, so don’t get stuck on a page!)
“O Lord, hear my cry for mercy! I know you are my strong deliverer, who shields my head in the day of battle.” Psalm 140:6-7
“Set a guard over my mouth and keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil.” Psalm 141:3-4
“I am in desperate need! Rescue me!” Psalms 142:6
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go.” Psalm 143:8
“The Lord is my Rock…my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield whom I take refuge.” Psalm 144:1-2
“His greatness no one can fathom!” Psalm 145:3b
“The Lord remains faithful FOREVER!” Psalm 146:6b
“The Lord heals the brokenhearted.” Psalm 147:3
“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:10-11
“Praise the Lord, for he commanded and it was created!” Psalm 148:5
“Let the people praise His name with dancing and make music to him.” Psalm 149:3 *
“Praise the Lord! Praise God in the sanctuary; Praise Him in his mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power. Praise Him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with all musical instruments and in dancing. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” Psalm 150*
*These Psalms are proof that there will be a dance party in heaven. Bring out the disco ball!
The book of Psalms has more real estate in the bible than any other book. It contains every condition and emotion known to mankind. Each chapter points to to the Lord and his mercy and love. Psalm 23 is my absolute favorite:
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil (you revive my drooping head), my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Notice the use of the personal pronoun “my” as in the Lord is my shepherd. My prayer for you that is that you will not just know of God, but know God personally. He personally created you for a personal relationship with Him. Just ask him.
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12
After six months, I finally finished reading the Book of Psalms <insert sigh>. Over the past 6 months I’ve been sharing a few verses from each chapter of the largest book of the Bible. Reading and journaling my favorite verses has been like finding a secret treasure. There are 150 chapters in the book of Psalms. I’ve decided to create five different posts about Psalms thereby sharing approximately 30 verses per post. Rather than copy and pasting, I type each verse, which helps to further cement God’s truth in my heart and mind.
Below are the verses that spoke to me the most in Psalm 90-120. Happy Reading!
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”
– Psalm 90:14
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us
-yes, establish the work of our hands.”
“The one who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield.”
“For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”
“‘Because she loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name. She will call upon me, and I will answer her; I will be with her in time of trouble, I will deliver her and honor her. With long life will I satisfy her and show her my salvation.”*
-Psalm 91: 14-16
*My version that I personalized in a female version. I encourage you too to rewrite scripture and make it more personal, insert your name too!
“God followers will flourish like a tree planted in God’s house. They will be fruitful and stay fresh and green even in their old age. They will remind others of the goodness of the Lord, exclaiming “He is my Rock!”
-Psalm 92:12-15 (my version)
(I love this verse so much I wrote about it: See post titled “Fresh and Green” May 22, 2014)
“Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.”
“For the Lord will not reject his people, He will never forsake his inheritance.”
“When I said, “My foot is slipping!” your love, O Lord supported me!”
“When anxiety was great with in me, your consolation brought joy to my soul!”
“Come let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.”
“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise!”
“The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.”
“Sing to the Lord a new song for he has done marvelous things!”
“O Lord our God, you answered them.”
“Enter his gates with a thankful heart and his courts with praise…
For the Lord is good and his loves endures forever.”
“My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me.”-God
(This was the inspiration of post “Found Faithful” on May 12, 2014)
“But you, O Lord sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations.”
“Praise the Lord, O my soul and don’t forget his benefits, He:
-Forgives all your sins
-Heals all your diseases
-Redeems your life from the pit
-Crowns you with love and compassion
-Satisfies your desires with good things
-Renews your life”
-Psalm 103:2-5 (my version)
“When you open your hand they are satisfied with good things.”
“Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always!”
“God remembers his promises forever.”
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
“He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
“With God we will gain the victory!”
“Help me, O Lord my God; save me in accordance with your love and let them know it was your hand that has done it!”
“The Lord said sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool at your feet.”
(I love this verse! A great reminder to sit still and let God do all the work!)
“He remembers his covenant forever.”
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, all who follow his precepts have good understanding.”
“Good will come to those who are generous and who lend freely.”
“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised!”
“Tremble earth at the presence of the Lord.”
“He (the Lord) will bless those who fear the Lord- great and small.”
“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you!”
“For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.”
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord then to trust in man.”
“Blessed are those who keep his statues and who seek him with all their hearts!”
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you.”
“Open my eyes so that I may see the wonderful things in your word.”
“Your faithfulness continues through all generations.”
“Make you face shine upon your servant.”
“Your promises have been thoroughly tested and your servant loves them!’
“I rejoice in your promise like one who finds a great treasure.”
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12
Our kids went to Camp Eagle this week, and I am surprised we haven’t received a letter from them. Scratch that–I am surprised we haven’t received a letter from Andrew. Camp Eagle is a church camp nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Fincastle, Va. Our children have spent many years attending the day camp programs, but this was their first week long, overnight camp.
We have been covering this week at camp in prayer for months, honestly over 6 months! As time grew closer, both Andrew and Rachel became increasing nervous about being away from home. Both children have their quirks when it comes to sleeping habits which caused great distress. I assured them that there would be other kids at camp who slept with a stuffed animal or needed a night light.
We tried to calm their fears by sharing our own camp experiences, but the kids gave us the “you’re-too-old-to-understand-look.” I even shared a story from my coworker, that when her twin boys went to camp they were embarrassed to have Spiderman underwear. Just a few days before they left for camp she had to buy all new underwear! When the boys arrived at camp, with their “grown up” underwear, everyone else in their cabin was wearing…you guessed it…Spiderman!
Every night before bed we would pray over their week at camp. We would pray for the kids bedtime quirks, pray the kids would meet new friends, be courageous to try new adventures, and deepen their relationship with the Lord.
Most importantly we would pray this simple prayer that the kids have committed to memory:
“I will trust and not be afraid.” Isaiah 12:2
Andrew wrote these words on a note card and taped it to his bed. Every night he would repeat it over and over. Even at camp he had printed that verse on a piece of paper to read every night. Tucked inside their suitcases was a envelope containing my bedtime prayer over them, always ending with the powerful words from Isaiah “I will trust and not be afraid.”
We arrived at camp at 9:00am Monday morning. The kids were silent as we pulled off the main road and drove down the long gravel road leading deep into the wooded camp. Upon arrival the kids realized they recognized a few of the camp counselors. Some of which attend their school or who had just graduated and are working at the camp for the summer. The tension began to ease. Andrew and Rachel were calling out the names of everyone they saw that they knew. The excitement was building! Rachel immediately recognized a girl who was her counselor and was brimming with happiness. When we stepped out of the truck Andrew heard a voice above the others saying “Andrew, I’ve been waiting for you! Dude, I’ve been waiting for you all Summer!” Andrew beamed! His favorite senior from school last year was HIS camp counselor!
We haven’t heard from the kids, which is a good sign that they are having too much fun to write home. I know God has answered our prayers. Would you like to take a guess at Andrew’s camp counselor’s name? Isaiah!
As adults we can smile at the unnecessary worries like kids going off to camp. But really, when you think about it, we do the same thing in our own lives. We too become worried about the uncertainties in life: a health scare, career change, job security, being relocated, moving, etc. In the midst of all that we need to remember to trust in a Holy and perfect God and not be afraid!
I am a mess and tend to worry too much and try to control too much. I too need to learn to trust more! My time on earth is only temporary, but because I have placed my trust, faith, and salvation in Jesus Christ I will spend eternity in heaven. One day, I too will hear a voice above all the others saying “April, I’ve been waiting for you!”
“I will trust and not be afraid!” Isaiah 12:2
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12
I realize I am very behind in updating my favorite verses in the book of Psalms. I’ve been reading the same book since January, meditating on a chapter or part of a chapter each day. Recently, Rachel asked about meditation and asked if I sit like this when I meditate: legs crossed, arms raised, hands forming the American Sign Language symbol for “O”, humming “ommm.” I laughed and explained that when I say I am meditating, it means I read a chapter from the Bible and sit quietly thinking about what I just read. I will write down a particular verse of interest in my prayer journal and sometimes a note card or sticky note. It is the sit still part that I always have the most trouble with. My mind is always racing onto the next thing, always prioritizing my day, and making lists. Sitting still (coffee in hand) as I read God’s word helps me to shift my focus on Him not me, His wants not my wants. Finally, I pray, asking God to let these words seep into the marrow of my soul.
The following verses have been my favorites as I slowly read through the longest book of the Bible.
“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
“Trust in Him in all times.”
“One thing God has spoken, but two things I heard:
1) God is strong.
2) God love me!”
Psalms 62: 11
“Your right hand holds me up!”
“All of mankind will fear, they will proclaim the works of God and ponder what He has done.” Psalms 64:9
“You crown the year with Your goodness. Your ways overflow with abundance!”
“Come and see what God has done, how awesome are His works on my behalf!”
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us.”
“Our God is a God who saves, from a Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”
“Save me God! The waters have come up to my neck and I am sinking in deep water.”
“May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you,
may those who love your salvation say ‘Let God be exalted!”
“Lord, you have been my hope since my youth. From birth I have relied on you.”
“But as for me, I will always have hope. I will praise you more and more.”
“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me God,
until I declare your power to the next generation.”
Psalms 71: 18
“Though you have made me see troubles (many and bitter), you restore my life again. From the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.”
“My mouth shouts for joy when I sing your praise to you. It is I that you have redeemed!”
“He will deliver the needy and the weak, and rescue the oppressed.”
“But as for me, it is good to be near God!”
“You, God are my King from old: you bring salvation upon the earth.”
“As for me, I will declare this forever”
“You alone are to be feared. Who can stand before you?”
“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters,
though your footsteps were not seen.”
“Yet, He was merciful; He forgave their iniquities.”
“We are your people, the sheep of your pasture, we will praise you forever,
from generation to generation.”
“Restore us, O Lord God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.”
“I remove burdens from your shoulders, says God.”
“In your distress you called and I rescued you!”
“Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord-
that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.”
“Blessed (happy) are those whose strength is in you.”
“Show us your unfailing love.”
“You are forgiving and good. The Lord is abounding in love to all who call upon Him.”
“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth.
Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name!
(This is my prayer for my children.)
“The Most High will establish her…He will write her name is His great book”
(When I read this, I sang the old hymn, “When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there…”)
“O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you.”
“The Lord is mighty and His faithfulness surrounds you.”
“Blessed (happy) are those who have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light of your presence.”
I am learning to sit still before the Lord; learning to talk less and listen more; learning how much he loves us, no matter what. Learning all that is reason enough to be blessed and happy!
“May you and I be mutally encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12
Andrew and I dropped Rachel off at Fiddle Camp and were giddy to begin our date. We had five uninterrupted hours of quality Mommy-Son time! Our destination, the movie theater to see Disney’s new movie Maleficent. Andrew proposed that if I bought the movie tickets, he would pay for popcorn. Deal!
I won’t give away any movie secrets, but I will say that Maleficent puts a new spin on the old classic story of Sleeping Beauty.
My favorite part of our date was not the movie, but rather the conversation in the car ride afterwards. My soon-to-be-sixth-grader said “Mommy, there is a bunch of symbolism in Maleficent, like good verses evil, pride and corruption, jealousy and hate, evil disguised as good.” For the rest of the car ride we talked about the symbolism and the curse. There is a scene in the movie where Maleficent states “This curse will last until the end of time and no power on earth can change it.” We talked about the curse we are all under “thanks to Adam and Eve for messing it up for the rest of us” Andrew said. Just as in the movie, I reminded Andrew there is no power on earth that can change it. Fortunately, the God we serve is not of this world. From heaven, Jesus was sent to break the curse of sin that was placed on the earth. Our firm belief in Jesus Christ is our saving grace from the curse.
Question: Who can separate us from the love of Christ?
Answer: Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any other powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-Romans 8:35, 38-39
Our conversation shifted and Andrew asked is it possible to lose our salvation. He wondered if you could still be saved from the curse even if you asked Jesus in to your heart, but then don’t always do right. “Absolutely!” I replied. That is the wonderful thing about God’s grace and forgiveness. We are always going to mess up and not do right, but as long as you truly believe Jesus died of the cross for our sins and you have asked Jesus into your heart, he is mighty to save!
I had a marvelous five-hour date with my 11-year old son. Later on in the evening, he tapped on the window and silently signed 1-4-3 our secret code for I love you. With tears in my eyes I signed 1-4-3-2. I harbor a lot of parental guilt. I tend to yell too much and play too little. I don’t always get things right. (This is why the lyrics to the song “How He Loves” written by John Mark McMillan and recorded by the David Crowder Band, mean so much to me. “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves me!”)
After I crawled into bed I wrote in my prayer journal: Lord, I don’t always get things right, but today I did! Lord, I love you too!
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12