Posts Tagged ‘worship’

Word of the Year for 2017!

January 1, 2017

word-of-the-year

I love the NEW YEAR! A fresh start. A clean slate. Promises to take hold of are just within reach. I love soaking in the positivity and peace most people are expressing and pouring out in written and spoken word. It’s lovely while it lasts!

To get to my word of the year, I have to tell you a little bit about my THEME of the year! 2017 is a year that will contain a big milestone birthday for me: 40. Yep, the big “4-0”. I’ve never been one to be bothered by my age, and find it kind of interesting when I hear people talk about birthdays that “bother” them. My Mamaw always said, “Well, what’s the alternative?” But when I started thinking about turning 40 years old, I realized that what bothers me is not the number, but rather the things still left undone. Hopes not yet realized, places not yet visited, and goals not yet reached (or even written down for that matter). The sand in the hourglass seems to be falling more quickly, and it makes my heart race, and my brain send impulses frenetically that seem to be saying, “You need to complete a lifetime’s worth of stuff in 12 months. Got it?!” So rather than succumb to a midlife crisis, and throw all caution to the wind and suddenly move to an island with no job or home, I decided to be intentional in looking at this next year and creating a theme. Forty: Fearless, Fit, and Fabulous! I want to be FEARLESS in every area of my life. The spirit of fearlessfear and unbelief tend to hang out together. They’re buddies. And they’re two “frenemies” that I’ve decided to kick out of my circle. I have no place for them in my life anymore. I want to be FIT in every area of my life…body, soul, and spirit. I need to be intentional about self care. I’ve allowed neglect & abuse to rule the roost and that’s poor stewardship. And it’s absurd that I would choose the things I have when God says, “I want to give you ABUNDANT life, Leigh-Taylor. One that overflows!” So, that’s what I’m choosing….overflowing, abundance that saturates every realm of who I am. And then there’s FABULOUS! I want to do special things this year that make it truly fabulous, and a year that stands out from among the others in my memory. Because travel feeds my soul, I know it will include some fun getaways and trips, but I also want to find the fabulousness in the normal day to day living, too.

So, because of this great theme I’ve been excited about I thought FEARLESS would be my word. It seemed like a natural fit to me. But that’s just it….it’s what “I” thought it should be. I didn’t prayerfully receive it like I did my other words. On Christmas Eve, I was thinking through how I wanted the upcoming year to be different, and I invited God to speak into it. That’s when the word entered my mind in big, block letters: BE. I knew instantly that it was my word for 2017. Then, immediately following that picture i saw in my mind, the cover of our devotional book that we’re using at Gateway Church for our corporate fast popped up on the screen: Created to Be.

be

This is the graphic I saw on the screen at Gateway Church!

I came home, and immediately started thinking about verses and two popped into my mind. The first one was Psalm 46:10, “BE still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” I thought, “This is ridiculous, Lord. I’m the one telling everyone I know about what You’ve done in my life through Shabbat, through REST! Don’t I have this whole “being still” thing down?” I paused instantly, and knew down deep in my spirit that I didn’t practice “being still” in ways that had brought about total refinement. My quick, haughty response was my first clue! So, I’ve decided this definitely was one of my verses for the year. I want to BE still and know that He is God….whether I know anything else, I don’t care. For me, that will be enough. Also, I want to see God BE exalted among the nations and BE exalted in the earth! I’ll see that done in new and fresh ways as I focus on BEing still.

joshua-1-9-imageThe other verse is from Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? BE strong and courageous! Do not be afraid.; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” So many “be’s” y’all!! While that does in fact make my heart happy, the verse came to mind because of that first BE. I did some studying and found that the Hebrew word chazak is the word used there and means “strength and courage” (& there are 3 repetitions of it in that section of Scripture). The Israelites would shout it while advancing into battle. It was their battle cry, their war hymn…their anthem! I want chazak…and that will come as I BE…and as I declare it to BE!

So there you have it, folks. My word of the year for 2017. As you can see, there’s much to unpack. There will be a lot of unnatural discipline required to just BE. But I am declaring that I’m up for the challenge! Chazak!

chazak

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Finding Jesus in a Parking Lot

May 6, 2015

Burdened.

Too much.

Overwhelmed.

How could I be feeling like this? I had just attended a three day women’s event at my church where I listened to the “best of the best” bring incredible insights from the Word of God, and gifted musicians who brought us into the presence of the Lord where we experienced “on earth as it is in heaven.”

But what did I have to show for it besides a bruised heart to go with my slumped shoulders?

Stress had manifested itself physically, and was matching externally what was hemorrhaging internally. I had reached my limit, but didn’t know that’s what the numbness and tingling was from. The electrical pain I was feeling started deep in my soul, and radiated out into my very finger tips.

I was shutting down.

abide2I had missed two weeks of observing the Sabbath. Twenty four hours a week consecrated to God. Holy. I had been absent from abiding with my Father. John 15:5 in the Amplified Bible says, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

I had done just that. I had cut off from vital union with the Vine. Jesus. And I had become a “shriveled up grape” crippled under the pressure of my own weight along with seemingly “noble things for the kingdom” (unending prayer requests from friends, service projects for hurting warriors, and even this three day women’s event).

When I got home and tried to take a nap, adrenaline continued to course through my veins. I couldn’t settle my spirit. I knew I needed Sabbath rest, and I needed to do something that would feed my soul. I decided to get crafty and make a prayer notebook, and get organized! Yes, that’s something that makes me happy. Hobby Lobby and The Container Store each have pieces of my heart. And those pieces can be found in the aisles with Mod Podge, designer scrapbook paper, and well…anything with glitter.

So, I hopped into my car, and prayed the whole two minute trip to Hobby Lobby. I turned off my car, and proceeded to pray out loud, telling God how overwhelmed I was, etc. Then my prayers took a different turn. I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me areas in which I needed to repent.parkinglot

That led to me having church in my Mazda! That led to an encounter with the Lord that I had missed during an incredible conference. That led to me being reaffirmed in knowing that NOTHING can fill me like Almighty God, and NO ONE else can touch my heart like He does.

One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 9:6 and if often quoted at Christmas time. It says, For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Yes, the government shall be upon HIS shoulders. That’s why His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30). He is the only One with shoulders big enough to carry the world (and so much more). When we start thinking WE can do the same, we’ve stepped over the line into pride. A righteous burden can become an unrighteous burden if we’re not careful.

I may have gone to church for three days in a row, but it took me parking my car and sitting still to find Jesus.

 bestill

A Kindred Spirit

February 4, 2015

A 70-something yr old lady changed my life last week.

Some people in my row at church were playing “musical chairs” of sorts & trying to get situated, and that left the seat next to me open. That’s when “Beth” (*name changed*) sat next to me. My soul just seemed to recognize hers. I knew it would be a matter of time before she started talking to me…I just sensed it. Sure enough, we exchanged some pleasantries & then she began telling me her story. What a precious heart…she gives & serves & prays & loves….a true Mary in our day & time…she would pour her fragrant offering on the feet of a King or on “the least of these”. That’s just who she is.

No one said “praise God” louder than she did. No one cried out to God from a more deeply passionate place in her soul than she did. No one sang more off key or worshiped more authentically than she did.

As we took our seats to listen to Crystal Lewis & the choir, her sobs during the songs literally rocked me in my chair. They came in waves. Prayers in liquid form. There were so many times I thought about getting her a tissue from my purse, or putting my hand on hers or on her knee, etc, but the purity of her worship stopped me. Honestly, the Spirit kept me from interfering in what He was doing….from their sweet communion.

I wanted to pray with Beth afterward, but when we closed our eyes for our final prayer I knew in my heart that when I opened my eyes, she’d be gone. And I was right. I never felt her leave, but sure enough she had slipped out. A smile turned the corners of my lips upward, & my heartstrings stirred up hymns of praise.

I’ve never been so moved in a worship service by someone else’s worship. Her worship DEEPENED my own! A corporate anointing, and a holy mentoring took place that day. I’ve thought about her & prayed for her every day this past week. I’ll probably never see her again, but a lady I crossed paths with for less than 2 hrs changed me forever.

With a grateful heart….. Amen.