See things the way God sees them.
Photo by Kaylee Stepkoski on Unsplash.
This article was inspired by our single "Higher". You can listen to the song below.
It's the difference between seeing a deer...as either dinner, or a beast to be feared and respected.
Perspective is the way you view the world. It’s the difference between seeing a deer in the woods and thinking of it as either dinner, or a beast to be feared and respected. Last year, I saw God consistently shift my perspective on everything. He left no stone unturned, though I do wish there were some things He would have left alone, such as my insecurities about my skin and trying to find my voice as a singer. Don’t even get me started on learning the piano. Add a global pandemic, multiple deaths in the family, and stepping down from leadership at my church to be a full time independent musician, and you have all the ingredients necessary for a mental break with no return to sanity in sight.
But somehow, I didn’t break.
My mind bent into positions that I didn’t think were possible. I know without a shadow of a doubt that it was God’s grace and mercy that carried me through. He kept me from living in fear and inspired me to lift others out of their personal pits of despair. I believe that I’ve been made better this year because of His constant call to see things from His vantage point. To see higher. As I look to the future I realize that I have a choice.
I can keep the mindset God has shaped in me during this 2020.
I can be open to new upgrades for the rest of my life.
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash.
The end of the year always leads to a time of introspection for me, and right after Christmas, I usually get very anxious about what the New Year will look like and how I can grow. This time around, my introspective sessions have been a little more hopeful than ones past, but are largely plagued by fear surrounding the future. Especially as a new, independent artist. In the midst of this fear is a heightened anxiety. We wonder if we will be able to do any public gigs safely. Or ever again (we may be stuck inside performing virtually for God knows how long).
We wonder if we can figure out how to get social media algorithms and technology to work for us so we can boost our income, or if these challenges will crush our desire to create. The temptation to just survive (aka “get a REAL job” as some may say) is very real, especially since our brains are wired to pursue it, at all costs.
He wants us to thrive in the most challenging circumstances.
But abandoning the joy that comes from living a whole, purpose filled life is too high a price to pay, even in the midst of the struggles. Survival is not what Jesus died for us to do. He came so that we could live an abundant life (John 10:10). Not a pointless existence where we just ‘get by’ on the bare minimum, in fear of our joy being stolen and our hope being destroyed. He wants us to create without fear of the future. He wants us thrive in the most challenging circumstances. He wants us go higher!
The question is...do you?
What has you tethered to the ground? What’s shackling your faith? What’s barring you from honing your craft and being God’s version of yourself?
Photo by Stephan Seeber on Unsplash.
There is a summit of creativity where God is the wellspring, the air is crisp, and you are free to be who He made you to be. I’m ready to go higher.
How about you?
Grab the, "He Is My Strength, He Is My Song" sweatshirt here.
"Comfort" has pampered many Christians. 2020 has made that exceedingly obvious.
By J. Sells
Now what could I mean by that first line? Well, by it, I mean that you need to stop being a slouch in your faith. Get off the “recliner”, so to speak. I write this because I’ve seen 2020 absolutely wreck the faiths of many who I thought, were steadfast men and women of God. At least, that’s what I was led to believe based on what I saw externally.
Your Christianity must be more than your hobbies.
Government shut downs and closures continuing into 2021 is inevitable. As hopeful as we are for the New Year, I do unfortunately believe that we’re in for more loss. More sadness. Perhaps, more chaos, but of a different breed. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a total doom and gloom outlook for the upcoming year, but what I do know for certain is that it will require a different kind of faith from us. A different kind of hope. One you can’t get from your hobbies. Your Christianity must be more than your hobbies. We’ve been so used to hanging out during and after church, playing music on stage, and leading whole congregations into the presence of God through the preached word. But with that seemingly stripped from us, there are many who have felt and maybe are still feeling “naked” in their faith.
Photo by M.T. Elgassier on Unsplash.
There are those of us who have woven a blanket of “community” and swaddled ourselves with it, saying to ourselves, “This is faith. This is Christianity.” And it makes you feel warm and cozy, and reaffirms everything about ‘God’s love’ that you’ve been telling yourself. Isn’t it great when all of that works together? Sure it is.
But what if…that blanket were snatched clean off you?
Perhaps, as you felt both the blanket and your warmth escape from your body, you reached out and clung to this blanket, fervently jerking it back in an attempt to take back your comfort. In an attempt to take back your 'safety'. But…it was taken from you anyway.
It was seized from you.
And you sit there, naked. Cold. Despondent. Angry at yourself. Worse yet…
Angry at God.
We’ve borne cloths of comfort. Not the armor of God.
I’ve seen so many come to question God’s existence this year. Too many to count. And I believe, it’s mainly because a lot of the pleasures and comforts we once enjoyed, we can no longer enjoy. We have made these ‘comforts’ our faith foundations, our faith homes, dangling Christianity on its sides as an accessory. There are many who have pointed to God, saying, “How dare you take this from me.”
“Give it back. Now!”
Thing is, God didn’t “strip” us of these comforts. I think it’s fine if one sees them as a bi-product of us loving Him and trusting Him, and Him being a good father to His children, but they were never meant to be a receipt that we point to as ‘proof’ that God loves us. They were most certainly not meant to be the foundations of our faith. We’ve borne cloths of comfort. Not the armor of God.
And that’s what has led the faith of many to ruin.
Photo by Samuele Giglio on Unsplash.
The enemy is ferocious. Cunning. Malicious. Deadly. You shouldn’t dare dream of doing battle with him in nothing but a nightgown. Yet, we often do. And I believe 2020 has exposed that unfortunate truth! We’ve been battered senseless by his blows this year. And no one saw it coming.
Because no one was prepared.
“On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
This is an age old quote from a hymn written by Edward Mote in 1834. Truer words have never been spoken. All other “ground” (aka foundations) literally crumbles quicker than you can grab for it. As you fall, the jagged rocks of the “mountain” you made an idol of will crack your skull open on the way down. And you figured a blanket would protect you? Tsk tsk tsk…this shouldn’t be so.
There must be firmer protection. There must be more solid ground!
Ephesians 6:13–18 describes the armor of God, how we should wear it, and the purpose each piece serves. This way, when (yes when) the enemy comes, we know exactly how to proceed. When he approaches to do battle, we will emerge victorious. Notice, I didn’t say unscathed. But victorious.
Christian. Guard your faith. Your real one. Your trust and hope in Jesus. That can never be taken from you. No matter what.
Grace and peace.